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News 2 Investigates police chief, union email fight

4 years 3 months 3 weeks ago March 01, 2013 Mar 1, 2013 Friday, March 01 2013 March 01, 2013 11:07 AM in The Investigative Unit
Source: WBRZ
By: Kristy Davis

BATON ROUGE - News 2 uncovered emails outlining contention between former Baton Rouge Police chief DeWayne White and police union president Chris Stewart.

The former chief alleged he'd caught flack for moving the police union president to a new job, with more responsibilities. News 2 got proof of the contention in black and white.

In a late night email on Dec. 14 from then-chief White to Chris Stewart, White said, "Mr. Daniel would be happy to facilitate a meeting between you and I to discuss the transfer in greater detail."

The email goes on to read, "The Mayor-President has much more important matters to address than to preside over something as innocuous as a transfer to a place where it is believed your services can best benefit the department."

One hour later, Stewart replied "I defer to my counsel" meaning Union Attorney Charlie Dirks.
But it doesn't stop there.

Later, on Dec. 15 Stewart sent an email saying his request for "time off" was approved by one lieutenant but denied by another. Stewart says when he asked for a reason why he was denied, the lieutenant told him "you need to come to work and learn the ropes of your new job".

Stewart says he was threatened that if he didn't show up he would be counted as "absent without leave" or AWOL.  Stewart went on to say "this is an attempt at retaliation for the grievance I filed... There is no other reason to deny my leave request."

His grievance was for a contract violation of the collective bargaining unit.

That grievance lends it self to one of the points Mayor Holden listed for firing White, accusing him of "inappropriately transferring persons from sensitive positions in a manner that violated established departmental policy and procedure, not to mention the collective bargaining agreement between the city and the police union."

Other emails indicate an exchange over a new job for the BRAVE program. Stewart chastised the chief for not posting it, and then realized it had been posted, and acknowledged he was "wrong."

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