NOPD Captain Sabrina Richardson, subject of a series of FOX 8 investigations, demoted
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans Police Department has demoted a high-ranking officer who was the subject of a series of FOX 8 investigations.
The NOPD demoted Sabrina Richardson from Captain to Lieutenant. She will no longer lead the NOPD’s Third District, which includes the Gentilly and Lakeview neighborhoods.
FOX 8′s investigation into Richardson looked at four years of payroll and off-duty detail records. We uncovered 26 instances where timesheets and detail paperwork showed Richardson double-dipping - working both NOPD duty and an off-duty detail shift overlapping.
One example uncovered by FOX 8 was on March 20, 2019. From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Richardson was paid for an off-duty detail shift at Restaurant Depot, but at the same time, NOPD records show her on the clock for a duty shift.
NOPD watchdog Skip Gallagher told FOX 8 he had questions about Richardson’s timesheets.
“This double-dipping issue, I just don’t get. You have a detail and you’re working duty at the same time. This doesn’t make sense. And I think with officers who work a normal 40 hours a week, this just doesn’t happen,” said Gallagher.
FOX 8 also requested license-plate-reading camera information on Richardson. There are more than 100 cameras across the city. FOX 8 was only given six months’ worth.
However, in that time, we found eight instances where Richardson claimed to be working an off-duty detail, but the cameras caught her police unit miles away from those assignments.
That includes November 27, 2021. Richardson was paid to work a detail at Champions Square leading up to the Bayou Classic from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. However, at 1:07 p.m., a license plate reading camera captured a picture of her police unit on the West Bank, five miles away from Champions Square.
About an hour later, another camera caught her unit on Chef Menteur Highway in New Orleans East, more than six miles away from Champions Square.
Another incident was in April 2021. The Final Four hired Richardson to work a detail at Woldenberg Park and paid her $671 for 11 hours of work. Richardson was scheduled to work from 11 a.m to 10 p.m. However, 45 minutes before her shift ended, a license plate reading camera took a picture of her unit on the West Bank.
Gallagher believes Richardson was not providing the service that she was being paid to provide.
Before leading the Third District, Richardson worked in the NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau, the department responsible for investigating misconduct within the NOPD. The PIB recused itself from investigating Richardson.
Then-head of homicide Nick Gernon was tasked with investigating Richardson’s discrepancies. He found 44 irregularities. Despite the findings, at the time, the NOPD kept Richardson in charge of the district and she retained her rank.
Tulane law professor Joel Friedman criticized that move at the time.
“She’s a captain. She does all of these things, and what happens? Is she demoted? No. Is she suspended? No. Is she terminated? No. She’s given control over a department. She’s put in charge of a unit, of a division, of a district,” said Friedman.
The new sanctions won’t cost Richardson her job, but it does mean a demotion.
In May, the NOPD handed the investigation over to the Orleans District Attorney’s Office to review for possible criminal offenses. FOX 8 asked the D.A.’s office for an update on the status of that investigation, but we haven’t heard back.
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