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Top State Police attorney abruptly reassigned amid Nakamoto reports

3 years 3 weeks 1 hour ago Wednesday, June 23 2021 Jun 23, 2021 June 23, 2021 1:29 PM June 23, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The top attorney for Louisiana State Police was removed from her position Wednesday amid a handful of Chris Nakamoto and WBRZ Investigative Unit reports about State Police emails obtained by the TV station showing how top brass messaged to spin liability for the death of Ronald Greene.

WATCH the late-breaking details related to this story all afternoon Wednesday: Stream newscasts here.

WBRZ evening newscasts are at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. weeknights.

WBRZ and Nakamoto were first to confirm news Faye Morrison was removed as general counsel for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety.

Multiple sources confirmed the reassignment.  State Police have not released more information.

Morrison was assigned a different position days after WBRZ initially reported on controversial emails Morrison wrote.  She'd previously been the agency's lead attorney, overseeing all legal matters for DPS, including State Police.

WBRZ obtained email threads showing Morrison in discussions about how to reduce State Police's "percentage of liability" after Ronald Greene died in State Police custody and suggested guilty pleas were important to justify troopers' use of excessive force in any situation. 

Morrison wrote in a memo obtained by Nakamoto and WBRZ, that if a suspect "pleaded guilty to underlying charge of resisting arrest," they'd lose the ability to make a civil excessive force claim against the department.

"With no underlying claim, there is no claim for failure to supervise or failure to train. This shows how important guilty verdicts or pleas on the resisting arrest charges are to our civil cases," Morrison wrote in the email in September 2019.  The email came after a series of excessive force complaints against State Police, some of which only came to light a year or two later.

About Greene's death, Morrison was on an email thread discussing how to shuffle liability.  

In emails leaked to WBRZ, Troop F Commander John Peters is found to have emailed Morrison with an idea: Peters said reconstructionists pulled data from Greene's car and claimed he died of an aortic rupture caused by 19g's of force. In his email he claims detectives proved troopers did not cause Greene's death.  Morrison responded to Peters.  She said he should save his research because it will be helpful "to provide to our attorneys for defense of department and department personnel."

The NAACP weighed in on the story this week. Eugene Collins called the email disgusting.

"Ms. Morrison has showed time and time again that she is willing to protect that system at all costs," Collins said this week. "I would hate to think in 2021, that it's someone's job to coverup murder. That wouldn't be allowed on the community's side and shouldn't be allowed on that side. They should be held to a much higher standard."

Last year, WBRZ had to get our lawyers involved after Morrison released totally redacted pages on another story we were working on. At the time attorneys questioned their transparency.

State Police issued the following statement tied to Morrison's removal.

Ms. Morrison has been transferred from her appointed position as Assistant Secretary, to her classified Attorney position within the DPS Office of Legal Affairs. She remains an employee in the Office of Legal Affairs. The Deputy Secretary is continually evaluating positions and operations throughout the agency to ensure efficiency and the utmost professional public safety services to our citizens.  No further information is available regarding a replacement for the role at this time. 

State records indicate Morrison was hired by DPS in 2010 and earns about $156,000 per year.

Read and watch previous WBRZ and Chris Nakamoto reports about Faye Morrison below:

Emails show State Police looked at ways to limit liability after Ronald Greene's death - June 2021

Morrison emails to staff why guilty verdicts are "important" in excessive force complaint situations - June 2021

Fallout over WBRZ stories related to State Police emails looking to spin Ronald Greene's death - June 2021

Faye Morrison acknowledges State Police tried to keep records hidden from Nakamoto - September 2020 

Black state lawmakers grilled Morrison about a lack of transparency related to State Police issues in a WBRZ report - September 2020

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