NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - “We are going to make sure that every authority that we have is on this. They will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and we will take the appropriate action as well,” says Chief Michael Harrison.
The NOPD arrests two of its own. Both are senior officers and both belong to the special victim and child abuse units.
Investigators say Officer Brandon Scruggs was off duty and driving his unmarked NOPD unit Sunday at 8 p.m. when he ran a red light at Elysian Fields and Robert E. Lee. They say Scruggs struck a motorcyclist.
According to court documents, the motorcyclist suffered serious bodily injury, was transported to the hospital and taken into surgery. The motorcyclist is now in the ICU.
When officers arrived on the scene, they detected an odor of alcohol on Scruggs’ breath and slurred speech. A search warrant was obtained for a blood and urine sample after Scruggs refused the field sobriety test. The NOPD says Scruggs’ blood alcohol level was over the legal limit.
“First of all, there’s no tolerance for any of our employees drinking and driving, especially driving a city-owned vehicle, and so that’s not going to be tolerated,” says Harrison.
In an earlier incident around 3 p.m. Sunday, police were called to the intersection of South Rampart and Girod Street.
That’s where they say senior NOPD Officer Tonishia Goodwin got into an accident while driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. They say Goodwin struck the back of another vehicle. She was also off duty and driving her unmarked NOPD unit at the time. No one was hurt in that crash, but police arrested Goodwin for DWI and following too close.
“I have not spoken with them yet. Chief Westbrook and her team took the appropriate action, and right now, there is both a criminal and administrative investigation underway,” says Harrison.
Both officers spent hours in jail before being released. Judge Franz Ziblich issued officer Scruggs a $21,500 ROR bond.
Commissioner Brigid Collins issued Goodwin a $5,000 ROR bond. Goodwin’s case is now transferred to Municipal Traffic Court.
Both officers were placed on emergency suspension.