Mayor finds out about contract with 'Silky Slim' from WAFB records request

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - "After hearing all this information today, I can just imagine the mayor's office is now the Titanic of 2017," said President of the Baton Rouge Police Union Sgt. Bryan Taylor.

Sgt. Taylor is referring to everything that's happened just this week. This past Monday, the 9News Investigators sent the city a public records request asking for "all contracts between the City of Baton Rouge and Arthur Reed, or 'Silky Slim,' or his non-profit, Stop the Killing."

A few hours later, WAFB received an email stating: "We have received your request and are reviewing it at this time."

The contract involves the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination (BRAVE) program, aimed a reducing crime in zip codes 70802 and 70805. LSU staff members dig through all the data to find the best places to target and to see if BRAVE is working. They are paid for their services through the BRAVE gr ant.

This past February, an item was put on the East Baton Rouge metro council agenda for $125,000 to LSU for their research for BRAVE, but the mayor wanted it removed. "This is a request from the mayor to be deleted," said East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor Pro-Tem Scott Wilson.

"Is there any reason why this is being deleted from the agenda," asked an EBR council member.

Dr. James Gilmore, the city's chief administrative officer, responded. "I've requested LSU provide me more details about the need for the extension or the amount of dollars. I took over the BRAVE program last week," said Dr. Gilmore.

A council member asked why not just defer it? Dr. Gilmore said after they have more details, it would be put back on the agenda. When asked if the mayor's office was completely committed to the BRAVE program going forward, Dr. Gilmore said, "We are absolutely committed to the BRAVE program going forward."

If the commitment was still in question, Mayor-president Sharon Weston Broome also took the podium.

"Maybe it will help if I say it. I, as the mayor, am completely committed to the BRAVE program and in upcoming days, you will find how committed I am to the BRAVE program. I'll be making an announcement about that," said Broome in February at a council meeting.

But the 9News Investigators looked through all the news releases released by the mayor's office since that February council meeting. We found no announcement on BRAVE, nor has that item been put back on the agenda. Sources tell us LSU has never been paid that money.

Instead, what we learned is the city signed a contract with Arthur Reed, better known as Silky Slim. Reed is a former gang member and convict turned activist. Last July during the protests, he wanted then Mayor Kip Holden out of office.

"The citizens of Baton Rouge, Louisiana has decided to put the City of Baton Rouge, Louisiana on notice. You have 72 hours to make Melvin Kip Holden resign. The cards have been played. The joker must go. The cards are now in your hands," said Reed in July.

At a separate incident, he showed up to a council meeting with a noose around his neck. "God send me here to piss on your confederacy," said Reed at Wednesday night's council meeting.

"Let me tell you this, because I'll tell you to your face. When the Ku Klux Klan infiltrate law enforcement and act like officers, they become the blue klux klan with a license to kill," said Reed. "You sit up there arrogant. Well God is going to kill all you damn devils, not us."

He then referred to Gavin Long, the man who shot six Baton Rouge law enforcement officers last summer.

"Justice came when Gavin Long came," said Reed.

"You've taken one of the most divisive people in the City of Baton Rouge and you entered into a contract with him? Despicable. I gave this administration a little more credit than that," said Sgt. Taylor.

Mayor Broome says she was not aware of a contract with Silky Slim. "No, I was not aware. I became aware of the contract through a public records request." Thursday morning, the mayor abruptly cancelled that contract and sent a statement.

"It was recently brought to my attention that he was engaged by a member of my staff to serve in contractual relationship as a 'street counselor' for the BRAVE program. That contract was cancelled and no monies were dispersed," the statement read in part.

The full statements reads:

The remarks made at last night's Metro Council meeting by Arthur "Silky Slim" Reed were hateful, offensive, and frankly unacceptable. Arthur Reed previously served on an advisory board earlier this year focused on police and community relations.  That committee, which was made up of law enforcement, faith-based leaders and community leaders was disbanded earlier in February. At the time, he was thought to be a person dedicated to improving police-citizen relations.

We're told the contract was signed at the end of June for Reed to talk to troubled teens in hopes of reducing crime, but the contract for $9,800 did not require the mayor's signature.

When asked why she canceled the contract, Broome responded, "Because he does not represent what I want to see moving forward in this city."

"I think this is a direct response to the public records request that is received and they're scrambling to save themselves," said Sgt. Taylor.

The 9News Investigators went to City Hall Thursday, trying to get copies of the contract and the cancellation paperwork. Instead, we received another email later in the afternoon saying they're still working on our request.

Despite the mayor distancing herself from Reed, Sgt. Taylor still has strong feelings about the her. "I've heard for a year that Chief Carl Dabadie needs to be replaced. With the decisions and connections of this administration, I think it's time that the mayor is replaced," said Sgt. Taylor.

"I am going to move this city forward. I respect the police. I know that they serve us. I want to certainly work with the police. We're going to move forward. We're going to move forward beyond this. I am going to lead this city and we're going to bring this city together. That is what I was elected to do and that is what I am going to do," said Broome.

The mayor says from now on, any contracts, regardless the amount, will have to go through her and require her signature.

Read the International Union of Police's statement here.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.