NAACP calls for review of police union as officers group stands firm behind Blane Salamoni
BATON ROUGE – In a terse, 245-word statement, the Baton Rouge Police Union said it was “thankful” the appeals process involving Blane Salamoni had been resolved but categorized revelations labeling Salamoni’s work history as a “character assassination.”
In a news conference this week, the police department said it had revealed a settlement with Salamoni over him trying to appeal his firing in the wake of the shooting death of Alton Sterling. Salamoni was the officer who shot and killed Sterling and had been found to have violated department policies. Salamoni was fired in March – almost three years after the shooting – and had been appealing the termination until the settlement was announced Thursday.
While announcing the deal, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul apologized for Salamoni’s behavior and said Salamoni never should have been hired. He referenced a previous arrest Salamoni had for domestic abuse, which should have disqualified him. The chief insinuated Salamoni was not forthcoming with the details about his arrest when he applied to be a Baton Rouge Police officer.
The union Friday, fired back.
“We disagree with the assertions made in the press conference pertaining to Blane Salamoni’s pre-employment process and tenure with the Baton Rouge Police Department. Here are the facts: Blane Salamoni fully disclosed his past during his interview process, which resulted in a 7-0 unanimous decision to hire him,” the union wrote in a statement.
“We are both angered and saddened with the character assassination of Blane Salamoni, previous administrations, as well as past and present members of the Baton Rouge Police Department,” the union said.
The union continued with referencing ways Salamoni was recognized – specifically referencing race: “[Salamoni] was recognized with a life-saving award of an African- American male citizen,” the union wrote.
The NAACP released a dueling response, praising the firing and chastising the Union.
“The NAACP is thankful that Blane Salamoni’s appeal process has been resolved. We feel the settlement is in the best interests of the Baton Rouge Police Department, and the Citizens of Baton Rouge,” the organization said.
Then, it turned to the Union.
“We are both angered and saddened, that the Baton Rouge Union of Police continues to support Blaine Salamoni. The NAACP finds the support of Blaine Salamoni by the Baton Rouge Union of Police both vile and disgusting. Where was the Baton Rouge Union of Police while BRPD was under [a] consent decree?"
The organization called for a review of the union contract.