NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The officer who initially arrested accused cop killer Travis Boys for domestic assault has himself been arrested by the Public Integrity Bureau, according to an NOPD news release.
Officer Wardell Johnson has been arrested and placed on emergency suspension for his initial police response to the domestic assault and actions he took after the initial investigation, the news release says.
Boys is accused of fatally shooting officer Daryle Holloway while Boys was being transported to jail after his domestic assault arrest. (READ the original police report here: http://shout.lt/7b4d.) PIB immediately began an investigation into how Boys was able to shoot Holloway and escape custody. During the course of the investigation, detectives interviewed Officers Wardell Johnson and Ryan Morgan about their roles in the initial arrest of Boys.
Based on the PIB interview and review of footage from both officers' body cameras, detectives learned that Officer Johnson deliberately attempted to leave a .40-caliber casing on the scene of the reported domestic assault and not process it for evidence. In addition, detectives learned that Officer Johnson recovered a box of unused .40-caliber bullets at the scene and did not process it as evidence in the investigation.
During a PIB interview, Johnson told detectives he did not remember where he left the box of bullets and wasn't able to confirm why he chose not to report the box of bullets as evidence. Shortly after the interview, detectives observed Johnson removing the box of bullets from his vehicle and throwing them out of the window while driving near Morrison and Downman Road. In a follow-up interview on Monday, Johnson admitted to throwing the box of bullets out of his window, according to the news release.
"I am extremely disgusted and outraged by the lack of professionalism and integrity shown by this officer based on the evidence we discovered today," said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. "This is an example of sloppy police work with a clear intent to cover it up, and it will not stand. The PIB Force Investigation Team has spent countless hours collecting and reviewing evidence in this investigation and we will continue to aggressively follow every lead to ensure justice for all victims involved."
Based on the evidence, PIB arrested Johnson on one count of obstruction of justice, one count of malfeasance in office and one count of theft.
All charges are criminal, and additional administrative charges may be forthcoming based on the ongoing investigation.
Johnson is a 12-year veteran of the NOPD, most recently assigned to the Fifth Police District.
Morgan is not facing charges.
The investigation into how Boys obtained a gun and was able to escape custody is ongoing.
The Independent Police Monitor is monitoring the investigation. The PIB Force Investigation Team is the lead on the investigation.