Cop arrested for 'sloppy' work as NOPD investigates officer's murder
NEW ORLEANS - NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said he was angered by one of their own officer's "sloppy" police work when searching a suspect who investigators said later shot and killed a fellow officer.
Police charged NOPD Officer Wardell Johnson with obstruction of justice, malfeasance in office and theft. Johnson, a 12-year-veteran of the force, was placed on immediate suspension after his arrest Monday night.
Superintendent Harrison said Johnson and Officer Ryan Morgan went out on an aggravated assault call early on June 20. The officers arrested 33-year-old Travis Boys after they said he fired a .40 caliber weapon at a woman, but didn't injure her.
NOPD said a few hours later Boys was being taken to the parish jail by Officer Daryle Holloway when Boys shot and killed the officer with a .40 caliber weapon. A special team of investigators from the Public Integrity Bureau are looking into how Boys, who was later re-arrested, got the gun.
On Tuesday Harrison said the Johnson's initial pat-down for Boys after the aggravated assault arrest was not thorough or in keeping with police training. Investigators said they learned Johnson also refused to collect a .40 caliber shell casing from the assault scene and removed a box of .40 caliber bullets from the home without logging them into evidence. Detectives also told the investigators they saw Johnson throwing a box of bullets out of his car's window while driving away from the scene.
The Public Integrity Bureau said Johnson told them at first he didn't remember where he left the box of bullets and he didn't say why he chose not to report it, but later admitted to tossing the bullets out of his car into a canal.
"I am extremely disgusted and outraged by the lack of professionalism and integrity shown by this officer based on the evidence we discovered today," NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said. "This is an example of sloppy police work with a clear intent to cover it up, and it will not stand. The PIB Force Investigation Team has spent countless hours collecting and reviewing evidence in this investigation and we will continue to aggressively follow every lead to ensure justice for all victims involved."
NOPD investigators were seen Tuesday searching a canal in eastern New Orleans for the box of bullets Johnson threw away.
Image: Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office