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Former BR Police Union president defends controversial Facebook post

6 months 2 weeks 6 days ago Wednesday, January 04 2017 Jan 4, 2017 January 04, 2017 5:05 PM January 04, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Chris Stewart, the former President of the Baton Rouge Police Union, is defending his social media post tonight that implied our area is about to see Chicago-style crime.

The long time Police Union president's post drew the attention of newly-elected Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and political analysts.

"Because we're on television, I can't always say what I want to say about Facebook because the FCC would probably fine you," Political Analyst Clay Young said. "I would just say nothing I see on social media surprises me anymore."

The post Chris Stewart wrote says, "Coming to a city near you shortly." The post is followed by a news article with the headline, "Chicago ends year with 762 homicides, the most in 2 decades in that city."

But, the "coming to a city near you" part couldn't be farther from the truth in Baton Rouge, according to Young. Crime statistics show the murder rate dropped to its lowest level in decades in the Baton Rouge area last year with 61 homicides.

"I find those comments very disheartening because first of all the numbers point to in 2016, we had the lowest murder rate since 2004... actually," Broome said.

During his time as Police Union president, Chris Stewart was tasked with fostering the highest levels of professionalism among law enforcement. Tonight, he's defending his comment on social media.

"I can say whatever I feel like saying," Stewart said on the phone. "I'm just a lowly Sergeant within the Baton Rouge Police Department."

When asked whether he thought his post was inappropriate, he said, "A lot of things are inappropriate. That's just the world we live in."

"He is a Sergeant within the police department, and he also is a public servant," Weston Broome said. "I believe those of us who have the responsibility and honor to serve as public servants to our community should be cognizant about what we say and what we do."

With Stewart's prior position of influence, and current position within the Baton Rouge Police Department many believe his post was nothing more than fear-mongering since the Police Union ultimately backed Broome's opponent.

Broome said days of change are coming to Baton Rouge Police starting with a new chief. She expects to have some names that could be contenders in the next few weeks.

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