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BRPD officer rehired, promoted after being fired in 2017

A Baton Rouge police officer who was arrested and fired in 2017, has been rehired and promoted...
A Baton Rouge police officer who was arrested and fired in 2017, has been rehired and promoted by Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul.(BRPD)
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 12:44 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge police officer who was arrested and fired in 2017, has been rehired and promoted by Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul.

That’s despite the fact that any arrests she makes going forward might be questioned in court due to her own prior record.

Her rehiring has raised questions about whether Chief Paul’s close relationship with one of the officer’s relatives is behind the rare move.

Chief Paul denies the close relationship played a role in his decision to rehire her.

The officer, Michelle Patterson, 32, was fired after she allegedly changed a police report about marijuana she confiscated.

Patterson, who had been on the force for two years at the time, was charged with injuring public records and malfeasance in office and ultimately terminated.

In September 2017, Patterson responded to an incident where a woman was found with a marijuana cigarette. The woman was given a misdemeanor summons and Patterson confiscated the marijuana, which was recorded on her body camera.

Police say Patterson typed her report of the incident the next day. She then allegedly deleted the report and rewrote it leaving out the fact that a misdemeanor summons was issued or that marijuana was confiscated.

Patterson submitted the false report, which a supervisor later approved. The original misdemeanor summons was later found in Patterson’s issued police vehicle, the department said.

After her termination, Patterson was added to the district attorney’s “Brady List,” which includes the names of any officers who should be considered unreliable witnesses.

District Attorney Hillar Moore said Patterson’s name will remain on that list which currently includes 27 other current or former BRPD officers.

Her prior history will likely have to be disclosed in any court cases Patterson is a part of in the future. That includes cases involving people she arrests going forward.

In rehiring her, Chief Paul gave Patterson an 87-day suspension, The Advocate newspaper reported. He also approved her receiving backpay for the time she would have worked since 2017. Because of that, she will now be promoted from officer to corporal. That is because, on paper, she now has the required six years of service necessary to be promoted to that higher rank, the newspaper reported.

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