Councilmembers demand resignation or termination after police chief's Council outburst
UPDATE: Councilman Aaron Moak, after speaking with WBRZ, joined with Councilwoman Jennifer Racca to author a letter to the Mayor calling for "the immediate resignation or termination of Murphy Paul as Chief of Police of the Baton Rouge Police Department.
BATON ROUGE - Members of the Baton Rouge Metro Council on Thursday directed strong words of their own at the City's chief of police, who lambasted them in an emotional speech at Wednesday night's meeting.
Council member Denise Amoroso went so far as to call for Chief Murphy Paul -- who has already announced his departure -- to leave office immediately.
In a statement, Amoroso characterized Paul's comments as "unprofessional" and said he had "disgraced" the department he leads.
"Indeed, if any BRPD officer ever displayed that kind of behavior in a public forum, they would likely be brought up on charges, placed on leave or any number of disciplinary actions," Amoroso said in her printed remarks.
Fellow Council member Aaron Moak called for an apology from the chief.
"It was chaotic," he said of the meeting, which focused on a growing scandal involving alleged police misconduct and interrogations inside what has become known as the "Brave Cave" -- a warehouse that is now central to a number of lawsuits against BRPD.
Paul directed his frustrations at the Council as a whole, and at times, individuals on it.
"Y'all are sitting here trying to deal off these people's emotions and some of y'all are the problem, Jen Racca," Paul said. "You sit there — defund the police department budget from a legal standpoint, and then come here because I don't have legal representation and I have to play lawyer to fight these bad actors. Let's talk facts.
"I've been quiet, but I'm not going to be quiet no more."
Moak told WBRZ that he took some time to process what unfolded.
"I'm trying to review everything in my head and just process the whole situation," he said. "We had a lot going on and it just escalated rapidly.
"I think a lot of us are still just processing the information that was thrust upon us -- or, actually, us being accused of and where we were going with this whole thing."
Moak said the chief owes the Council an apology.
Moak and Racca also issued a statement calling for Murphy's resignation Thursday, which can be read here:
We were appalled by the conduct and total disregard for decorum displayed by Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul at the Metropolitan Council meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
His lack of control over his emotions and unprofessional diatribe did not go unnoticed. His words and actions are below the office he holds and a disrespect to the brave men and women of our police
In particular, his verbal attack directed at us personally was completely absurd and crossed a number of ethical and professional lines.
Based on the Baton Rouge Police Department's own code of conduct, and the fact that the you asked Chief Murphy Paul to stand down and he did not, shows a disregard for the respect of our office as
Council Members and your position as Mayor-President.
As a result of his actions, we ask for the immediate resignation or termination of Murphy Paul as Chief of Police of the Baton Rouge Police Department.
Paul wasn't speaking about the matter on Thursday. Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome issued the following statement:
The outpouring of passion during last night's council meeting underscores the desire and necessity within our community and its leadership to move baton rouge towards a brighter future, firmly rooted in the best interests of our citizens. As we confront these challenges, it is important that we hold to our core values of civility and decorum. The manner in which we conduct ourselves in these interactions not only serves as a testament to our individual integrity but also sculpts the very essence of the baton rouge community.
The dustup came within hours of the arrest of three BRPD officers -- including the deputy chief -- on multiple felony counts. A fourth officer will also be booked when he returns to the city.
Chief Paul is expected to speak for the first time since the Council meeting and the arrests when he leads a news conference set for 10 a.m. Friday.
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