The Investigators: 2 WBRSO deputies suspended after inmates escaped

The Investigators: 2 WBRSO deputies suspended after inmates escaped

WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Two West Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputies have been suspended after Col. Richie Johnson with WBRSO said three inmates were unaccounted for.

On November 8 around 1:50 a.m. in the parking lot of the Radisson Hotel on South Acadian Thruway. Baton Rouge Police said Angelina Hooks was staying the weekend at the Radisson with a man, whom she allegedly lured outside the hotel by his car.

According to a police report, the victim told officers a man by the name of Emanuel Jones "came out of nowhere with a gun and demanded that he give him his property," and that he then "punched him about the torso and then struck him in the face with the handgun." The report continued to say Jones "made him get into the trunk of his own vehicle " and the victim said he heard Jones and someone else talking about "finding a place to go and kill him."

But BRPD's investigation revealed Jones and two others, who were allegedly with him when the victim was robbed and kidnapped, were all work release inmates and should have been in the custody of West Baton Rouge.

Last week, Col. Johnson said all three were accounted for when their deputies did headcounts, which are conducted every two hours. He added it is possible since documentation shows all were accounted for, that there was a human error.

On Tuesday, December. 22, Col. Johnson said after their internal investigation, they asked 40 Department of Corrections officers to come help search beginning at 4 a.m. and found those three inmates were not accounted for on November 8 around the time of the alleged robbery and kidnapping. Col. Johnson said on November 8, the WBR transitional work release facility was short handed by one deputy, a supervisor, who had called in sick.

He added officials found stolen items from the November 8 robbery sold to other inmates and have since turned that over to Baton Rouge police. Inmates having bought the possible evidence will be dealt with by the WBR administration, and Col. Johnson added they could face disciplinary action.

He said one deputy came forward and admitted he allowed an inmate to give him a headcount, instead of physically taking a headcount on his own. Col. Johnson said that deputy was suspended for one day without pay because he is still fairly new having worked at the WBR transitional work release program for only the past four months.

After last week, Col. Johnson said they added another security protocol where a senior deputy occasionally reviews the video tapes from the headcounts. On Sunday, December 20, he said as part of doing so, another deputy was caught getting a headcount from an inmate instead of physically counting the inmates. That specific deputy has been suspended without pay for 90 days with Col. Johnson adding he has worked at the work release facility for over a year and knew better.

Col. Johnson did not release the names of the two deputies.

When asked why the deputies were not fired, he said because video recordings from the night in question in November had been deleted and had it not been for both deputies coming forward and admitting they did not count the inmates, they would not have been able to find out the three inmates were unaccounted for.

Since then, all three inmates are back behind bars and have lost their work release privileges.

When asked if there are no recordings, is it possible there could have been other escaped inmates, Col. Johnson said it is possible.

The Louisiana Department of Corrections issued a statement:

"Correctional Officers from Elayn Hunt Correctional Center and Dixon Correctional Institute conducted this morning's search at the West Baton Rouge Parish Transitional Work Program. The Department awaits the final results of the investigation from West Baton Rouge, but certainly disciplinary action is appropriate in this case and it appears that action has been taken."

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