BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office has issued a statement admitting a woman was wrongfully arrested on Feb. 10 due to clerical error when an arrest warrant for another person was filed.
In November of 2017, a detective entered a warrant into the sheriff’s office system for failure to return a leased vehicle.
Casey Hicks, a sheriff’s office spokesperson, said the detective mistakenly filed it for a woman of the same name but a different birthdate.
The detective who filed the warrant retired two years later in November of 2019 after serving with the sheriff’s office for 30 years. The wrongly filed warrant remained unchanged in the sheriff’s system for over two years.
The innocent woman went on an international cruise and her name was flagged by US Customs & Border Protection when she returned to New Orleans on Feb. 10. The woman was then arrested by New Orleans Harbor Police.
The woman spent the night at the Orleans Parish Prison. Hicks said detectives were made aware fo the error on Feb. 11 as the woman was being transported back to Baton Rouge.
Detectives immediately recalled the warrant and released the innocent woman.
Hicks said an EBRSO officer reviewed and revised the sheriff’s offices Auto Theft Division policies and procedures in order to ensure additional checks and balances with regard to investigations.
The sheriff’s office is currently conducting a thorough audit of active warrants for the agency and will continue to do so routinely, Hicks said.
“My number one priority is keeping our community safe and informed,” Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said.
“It’s imperative that this parish has trust in our ability to do our job competently and thoroughly. I am sorry that such an error was made that caused an innocent woman to be put in such an upsetting situation. I am fully committed to continuously reviewing, updating and improving policies, procedures and training. I will do all I can to put every possible safeguard in place to attempt to prevent this from happening again,” Gautreaux said in a statement.