Attorney describes circumstances surrounding Chief White firing
BATON ROUGE - Through his attorney today, fired Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White leveled serious allegations that the East Baton Rouge Mayor's Office interfered with his duties and actively kept him from speaking to the media about issues with the department.
White and his attorney, Jill Craft, made the allegations a day after White was fired by the city, a move Craft called the "worst-kept secret in Baton Rouge."
Among the accusations were claims the Mayor's Office told White not to make any transfers or actions on disciplinary matters without the Mayor's consent first. Craft also claims he was told not to put those requests to the Mayor's Office in writing, because they could be requested as public records by the media.
Craft said at least one of those requests for disciplinary actions was "fairly significant," and agreed that not going through with them could have put the city in jeopardy.
Craft said today White retained her three weeks ago after hearing rumors the Mayor's Office planned to fire him. She said when she contacted Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel to "extend an olive branch," Daniel claimed she didn't know what she was talking about. Craft said 30 minutes later White received a "heated" phone call from the Mayor, who was upset he contacted a lawyer about the matter.
Craft said they received no more communication from either the Mayor or Daniel until White was called into the Mayor's office after a press conference yesterday. He said the city's attorney was present with Mayor Holden when Daniel asked him to resign or be terminated.
When White asked to call his attorney and wife first, Craft said his request was denied and a letter of termination was slid across the desk to him.
Craft said White has a meeting scheduled for Feb. 18 to appeal the decision, and she asked that meeting be open to the public. She said even though her client offered to resign at first, he wants to "finish the job he started."
Mayor Holden and Daniel both refused to comment about the matter yesterday, saying it was a personnel matter.
News 2 will have more coverage on these allegations and White's firing tonight starting at 4 p.m.