Calls for third-party to investigate Officer Vappie after alleged missteps during his investigation
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The city’s independent Police Monitor says it will not investigate alleged missteps in the Jeffery Vappie investigation. That was after statements made by the mayor’s former security officer were sent to the city attorney’s office.
The head of the Metropolitan Crime Commission is calling for the office of the Inspector General to investigate how statements made during the Vappie investigation were sent to the city attorney’s office before that investigation was concluded.
“I think it’s critically important, I don’t think the city attorney can investigate himself, and I don’t think it should be the police department either because of their appointment authority by the mayor of the city of New Orleans,” said Rafael Goyeneche, with the Metropolitan Crime Commission.
The city says recordings of Public Integrity Bureau interrogations of a former mayoral security officer Jeffrey Vappie released to the law department were ‘inadvertently’ released to a HANO board member.
“And you would change your clothes at the Pontalba?” asked the PIB investigator.
Vappie: ”That’s correct.”
Interviewer: ”In the same house with your principal?
Vappie: “Different places.”
Interviewer: “That’s not what I asked you in the same house with your principal?”
Vappie: ”Absolutely, yeah absolutely.”
“I’ve always been surprised the federal monitors didn’t say, whoa stop the bus, these are things that could be crimes, payroll, fraud, sexual harassment. This is far more complex then we should request the PIB to do,” said former New Orleans police chief Ronal Serpas.
He says a federal judge should order a third-party investigation due to conflicts between the officer, the NOPD, and Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
“I did it many times in Nashville. We had the Tennessee Bureau of investigation to do it. In New Orleans, I was investigated by the IG when issues about me were brought up,” Serpas said.
City Council member JP Morrell says if no outside agency picks up a third-party investigation, the New Orleans City Council may conduct one of its own.
“Either way, PIB should not be involved at all because it’s absolutely compromised at this point,” said Morrell.
However, Morrell spokesperson Monet Brignac Sullivan says a council investigation is not the ideal solution.
Former Chief Serpas says if Vappie supervisors had been doing their job, these alleged abuses would not have become a problem.
We reached out to the inspector general to see if he would launch a third-party investigation into the administrative violations but have not heard back. The IG is already looking into certain aspects of this case.
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