Retired judge calls for independent investigation at BRPD following officer's rare tell-all interview
BATON ROUGE - A retired judge, who still serves in an ad-hoc capacity at times, watched a former narcotics officer's tell-all interview on WBRZ Wednesday night in disbelief and believes a full investigation needs to be conducted to see if the problems highlighted in the report were only isolated to narcotics.
Judge Luke Lavergne said he's had suspicions before about drug cases that were brought to him. Ardoin's interview on WBRZ gave him a flashback to when he was a young prosecutor reviewing probable cause sheets.
"I looked at the probable cause affidavit, and even then they would say he looked suspicious, was in a high crime area," Judge Lavergne said. "I saw a marijuana roach and a blunt, and he was arrested. At least 20 or 30 of those a week. So, when Officer Ardoin came out with that, it brought to mind what has been going on since the 80's in the Black community."
Among the concerns Jeremiah Ardoin raised are coverups, quotas, arrests without probable cause, and talks of drugs being planted on people. Ardoin resigned from the force Tuesday. He was arrested for possession of stolen things in December and immediately began cooperating with investigators.
Ardoin said he watched a colleague steal drugs out of the evidence room. That led to the arrest of his colleague, Jason Acree for malfeasance in office for allegedly stealing the drugs. Ardoin claimed other officers were also in the evidence room at that time, and he was the only one who spoke up.
"If a crime was committed and the other officers were there, they should also be prosecuted as an accessory," Lavergne said.
Judge Luke Lavergne said the ramifications will have far-reaching impacts beyond just the community but in the entire legal system, including judges themselves.
"I wonder if this police officer is really telling the truth, stretching the truth or outright lying," Lavergne said. "Judges will look at this closely from now on and that's unfortunate in our system."
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