NAACP, community leaders team up to solve BRPD corruption fallout for wrongfully charged
BATON ROUGE - Community leaders are coming together to hold city leaders accountable for the damage caused by the Baton Rouge Police Department's corrupt narcotics unit.
The district attorney's office dropped over 700 drug charges after uncovering misconduct and dishonesty within BRPD's narcotics division, but those charges are still showing up in court records.
A typical expungement cost rings in at about $400 with a small portion going to the clerk of court and the district attorney, and majority of the money going to state police. With about 100 people connected to the hundreds of charges, it totals to about $40,000 to pay for the records to be wiped.
In a tell-all interview with WBRZ's Investigative Unit, a former officer, Jerimiah Ardoin, exposed cover-ups, quotas, and said he heard officers in the narcotics squad planting drugs on people.
The investigation led to the arrests of several officers on charges of misconduct and 700 dropped charges.
District Attorney Hillar C. Moore explained the difficulties tied to covering the costs of those setbacks by BRPD, saying, "Since we dismissed them (charges), they're entitled to have their record expunged. Most people don't even come forward to have their record expunged because it's really difficult to do, it's a hard process, and it costs money. So, we're trying to find how to expunge their records. If money is in the way, can we raise the money? Find the money?...but right now we're running into little snags by statute."
The NAACP, Representative Ted James, and other local organizations are teaming up to make things right after over the hundreds of dropped charges in an initiative they call "The Collective Restoration Expungement Services and More" event.
The association is hosting a press conference Tuesday morning at the City Hall to announce the details of the upcoming event and plans to fix the fallout, mapping out just how they plan to foot the hefty bill.
The mission is to waive expungement fees. Organizers say they hope this will help remove barriers for gainful employment, applying for businesses and occupational licensing, housing, voting, education, and other opportunities due to wrongful arrests.
The NAACP plans to host several collective restoration events over the summer, however, the first event will be focused on serving those affected by the ongoing BRPD corruption investigation.
Other organizations involved in these efforts include the Baton Rouge Housing Authority, VOTE, Employment BR, YWCA Baton Rouge, Martinet Legal Society, Baton Rouge Office of Public Defender, and Metamorphosis.