BRPD backpedals on disgraced officer's retirement
BATON ROUGE- Less than a week after the Baton Rouge Police Department admitted Chief Carl Dabadie allowed a disgraced cop to switch his resignation letter into a retirement letter, department spokespersons crawfished on who was ultimately responsible for the decision.
Last week, BRPD Media Relations told News 2 that Chief Dabadie let Michael Elsbury come in and change the word "resignation" on his resignation letter to "retirement." Today, however, the department said questions about Michael Elsbury's retirement should be directed to Human Resources, Civil Service and the Retirement System.
News 2 checked with all of those organizations, and all said they had nothing to do with the amendment to the resignation letter.
Earlier this month the News 2 Investigative Unit broke the story about racist text messages allegedly sent by Elsbury. The messages called African Americans "monkeys," the "n" word, and wished a Ferguson-like situation would happen in Baton Rouge, a reference to the Missouri town where riots broke out after an unarmed black man was shot and killed by a police officer.
Less than 24 hours after our initial story, Elsbury submitted his resignation. According to the retirement system, Elsbury is eligible to take a lump sum or keep his money and draw a check at the age of 55. However, currently he does not meet the age or years to retire, and it's unclear if there would be any change to those benefits depending on the wording of Elsbury's letter.
Questions over the amendment to the letter are concerning to Paul Guidry, who teaches criminal justice and ethics at Baton Rouge Community College.
"If there is something being hidden from public view, then why not open the door and let us look in," Guidry said.
Guidry believes transparency starts from the top in order for the community to trust police.
"I tell my students when we talk about ethics, just admit to the wrongdoing and let's move on," Guidry said. "Passing the blame game is just going to cause others to be concerned with what's going on."
This issue is supposed to be discussed next week before the EBR Metro Council.