Search for cell phone lands ex-Baton Rouge chief under investigation

Former Police Chief Dewayne White
Former Police Chief Dewayne White

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Bad blood continues between the former Baton Rouge police chief and the city. Now, over a missing $500 cell phone city leaders say former Chief Dewayne White never returned. White was fired more than a month ago, but now in the middle of a theft investigation.

Since February, there's been a lot of back and forth between Mayor Kip Holden and ex-police chief Dewayne White. Both parties delivered punches at White's termination hearing on February 18, 2013. And now, there's a fight over a city-parish cell phone. Police were asked last month to find the phone that was given to White.

"He did not tell the public the whole truth and even denied the fact that he had this phone," said Mayor Kip Holden, referring to what White said during the termination hearing.

Jill Craft is White's attorney. She says she has the cell phone in question. Craft says after Mayor Holden made it an issue, she took it as a piece of evidence.

"If he wants to come look at it, I'm at 509 St. Louis Street, come on," Craft said. She says no one has contacted her to find the phone.

The issue is being taken so seriously, a search warrant has been issued. The warrant says the Baton Rouge Police Department is investigating a theft of a city-parish cell phone that was issued to a Baton Rouge police officer. The document never names who that officer is, but goes on to says the officer says he was never issued a phone. It also says they pulled records on the phone and found the majority of calls and text messages were made to one particular person, a local woman.

The warrant allowed police to search her home.

"We actually received a call from the poor woman in Zachary who's house was stormed essentially at 5:30 yesterday morning, in front of her child," Craft said. "Her cell phone was taken from her."

Craft says this is just another move by the mayor to bolster his reasons for firing the chief.

"The Baton Rouge Police Department is doing the mayor's bidding by using the criminal process, the judges and courts of this state for what is primarily and principally a civil matter. That's ridiculous," said Craft.

"The police department investigation is in their hands," Holden commented on the issue. "I'm not going to look beyond every nook and cranny at what they have or don't have. All I can tell you is she's (Craft) not being truthful with people of Baton Rouge at all," said Holden.

For now, the phone, the center of a police investigation and search warrant, remains at the law offices of Jill Craft.

Wednesday, White's attorney filed a motion to have the findings of the search warrant voided. Craft says there are several issues with how and why the officer executed the search warrant.

No date was set for a hearing to discuss those issues.

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