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Taxpayers foot the bill for Officer who killed baby after crashing personal car

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BATON ROUGE- Taxpayers will continue to pay the salary for an officer who is under investigation and on administrative leave after investigators say he went 94 miles per hour in his personal car and slammed into an SUV back in October.

Christopher Manuel was charged with negligent homicide Friday for the crash that killed a one-year-old and injured six others. Baton Rouge Police said Manuel is on leave per department policies, however BRPD would not do an on-camera interview about it.

Serious questions were raised by a Former Baton Rouge Police leader who said since the crash happened off-duty and not in a city-issued unit, taxpayers should not have to be on the line for his actions.

Baton Rouge Police said the protocols they followed are:

1. Manuel was placed on leave after the crash.
2. A criminal investigation began.
3. Once the criminal investigation wrapped up, an Internal Affairs investigation began.
4. A disciplinary hearing will follow once the IA investigation is complete.

Robert Lawrence with the Office of State Examiners is over Police Civil Service. He said because the officer was also hurt in the crash, state law mandates that he be paid with sick time, and attorney general opinions indicate it applies to whether he was on-duty or off-duty.

Lawrence told the WBRZ Investigative Unit the officer is entitled to 52 weeks of sick leave, and Lawrence said it appears paid sick leave would be exhausted after that time.

However, the Police Department said Manuel is on paid administrative leave, not sick leave, until after the internal investigation wraps up.

Manuel posted a $15,000 bail on a negligent homicide charge. He was booked into jail on Friday. There's no time frame on how long the IA investigation will take or when Manuel might have his disciplinary hearing.


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