Amid flood of criticism, Louisiana State Police launches new unit to investigate use-of-force incidents
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana State Police launched a Force Investigation Unit (FIU) in February tasked with investigating cases of deadly force, retaliatory force and in-custody deaths involving officers under the Department of Public Safety.
FIU will operate separately from Internal Affairs, a body that investigates incidents at State Police including allegations made against their own troopers. The FIU will report directly to Colonel Lamar Davis. The ambitious program is being lauded as a great idea by troopers, but this week sources provided the WBRZ Investigative Unit with emails that Davis sent out telling individuals that if they have an FIU complaint, it needs to be filed with their chain of command.
Troopers are worried that if they witness something that is worthy of being reported, they can no longer go directly to FIU. Instead, they would have to go through their supervisors who would bring the complaint up their chain of command.
"This is the same old story and song," one trooper told the WBRZ Investigative Unit. "We can't report things at the troop level, and this limits people reporting bad behavior. Reporting it to an entity separate from FIU, means you effectively have to report it to supervisors who hold your career in their hands. They will not want to promote a rat in the future."
Following Ronald Greene's death, a number of troopers were retaliated against when they told the truth. The problem there caused one state lawmaker to even propose a law protecting law enforcement whistleblowers.
State Police believe this new unit will be beneficial and is a proven model based on best practices utilized by numerous agencies across the country.
Three years ago, Ronald Greene died in State Police custody. Body camera footage showed he was brutally beaten, but troopers told his family he died because of a crash.
If the FIU was in existence back then, it would have also been tasked with investigating the Greene case.
The FIU is made up of nearly 12 different LSP employees that are broken up into three regions.