FOX 8 Investigates: Records show NOPD officer had history of mishandling evidence

FOX 8 Investigates: Records show NOPD officer had history of mishandling evidence

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - There is disturbing new information about the NOPD officer accused of deliberately hiding evidence in the Travis Boys case.

Officer Wardell Johnson faces charges of malfeasance in office, tampering with public records and theft. The charges stem from they way he handled the original arrest of Boys for domestic assault. Police say Boys later shot and killed veteran NOPD Officer Daryle Holloway and escaped from his police car while being taken to Central Lockup.

Now, in a FOX 8 Investigation, we have uncovered reports showing Johnson has been reprimanded several times in the past for violating police procedures and mishandling evidence.

According to Johnson's personnel file, the officer has been suspended six times since 2007. The documents show Johnson was suspended for seven days in 2006 after investigators say he confiscated two inoperable guns, broke them into several pieces and threw them in the trash at the home of a domestic violence victim.

Johnson was suspended again for five days in 2010 after investigators say his actions caused embarrassment to himself and the department when he failed to conduct a complete investigation, neglected to render aid and was untruthful in how he responded to a car accident with injuries.

And Johnson faced another suspension in 2010 for failing to write a police report to document an assault and injuries in another domestic violence case.

Now police say Johnson found a box of .40-caliber bullets at the initial crime scene involving Boys and concealed the evidence for 16 days. The NOPD has said Boys used a .40-caliber gun to shoot and kill Officer Holloway while he was in custody. "He and Daryle Holloway were extremely close, and he's very distraught about what happened," said Johnson's attorney, Kristie Holm.  
According to the NOPD, Johnson threw that box of .40-caliber bullets into a canal Monday after he was questioned by the department's Public Integrity Bureau. The Independent Police Monitor says they've been pleased with how the PIB has handled their investigation. "We really think they are working quite well in figuring out where the misconduct is, and once they actually find out where the misconduct is, actually doing something about that misconduct," said Simone Levine with the Office of the Independent Police Monitor.

Johnson's personnel file says he was also reprimanded and suspended two different times for failing to appear in court after getting a subpoena to do so and for working unauthorized paid detail.

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