Lawsuit alleges body camera company bribed public officials in New Orleans

Lawsuit alleges body camera company bribed public officials in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The company contracted to provide the NOPD with body cameras is facing serious accusations.

A multi-city lawsuit alleges TASER International bribed public officials for lucrative contracts.

Back in January of 2014, the New Orleans Police Department showed off their brand new body cameras. "We purchased 420 of these devices," said former NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas. " And we're in a 5 year contract with TASER to give us the ability to replace these pieces of equipment."

Now, TASER's competitor, Digital Ally, filed the 41 page lawsuit saying TASER bribed public officials in several cities to use their product over competitors'. Serpas is one of the officials named in that lawsuit.

The lawsuit states, "Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas confirmed he signed a taser consulting agreement after he stepped down from the NOPD."

It also says Serpas had "spoken at TASER sponsored events in Canada and Arizona," and that TASER's marketing materials quote Serpas as calling the body cameras "a game changer for police departments here and around the world."

In an interview with the Associated Press, Serpas declined to detail the consulting deal, but said it did not violate state ethic laws because he was not lobbying his former employer.

The city released this statement to FOX 8: "Taser International was selected in an open, competitive and transparent process by a committee of staff level experts in a public meeting to provide and maintain body-worn cameras and a storage solution for the New Orleans Police Department. Taser's proposal was the lowest bidder and deemed to provide the City the best value. We are pleased with the product and service Taser International has provided thus far."

TASER International released a statement saying they "patently deny the frivolous accusation by Digital Ally, and we'll address their claims in the court room."

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.