OPP whistleblower resigns - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

OPP whistleblower resigns

NEW ORLEANS - A whistleblower who exposed violence and bad conditions inside Orleans Parish Prison has resigned his position as a deputy.

Bryan Collins spoke about his decision to resign this week in an interview with our news partners NOLA.com | The Times Picayune.

"It certainly wasn't a resignation that was given lightly and freely," Collins said. "I did resign under duress and I did it reluctantly."

He had worked at OPP for four years.

"At this point, I do feel liberated," he said. "Liberated in the sense that I no longer have to make the difficult decisions every morning of being duplicitous and complicit, and now I can just focus on continuing to do the right thing, 100 percent."

Collins provided information to the Southern Poverty Law Center about rapes and stabbings and bad conditions inside the prison after he said his complaints to prison officials fell on deaf ears.

Collins was on duty in June of this year when an inmate allegedly stabbed fellow prisoner Brian Ellis 20 times. Collins sent a picture of the bloody cell to NOLA.com.

The federal lawsuit the SPLC ended up filing over prison conditions led to a federal consent decree which mandates serious reforms at the prison.

Collins' attorney, Eric Hessler, believes Collins had no choice but to hand in his badge because he feared retaliation inside the jail.

"This was a guy that identified serious wrongdoing and serious deficiencies in a prison that really, really needed to look inside itself, and when he did so, he was retaliated [against] to this extent that he was forced to leave," Hessler said.

Hessler also stated that Collins filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Hessler said requests he made to the sheriff's office recently were not appropriately responded to.

"I asked for the status of any investigations that were being conducted," Hessler said. "I asked if they were investigating the ranking officers who made threats and made threatening comments against him, and simply the response that we got was essentially they said 'we're looking into it,' but I have no faith in that answer."

FOX 8's calls to the sheriff's office for comment were not returned.

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