LAPLACE, LA (WVUE) - A St. John the Baptist Sheriff's deputy is speaking out after a FOX 8 investigation pinpointed his actions caught on a jail surveillance camera. It sparked arguments between a former sheriff and the current sheriff in the parish.
Graylin Burl was caught on camera tasing a man he arrested while he was being strapped into a restraining chair.
“I'm not an expert in Taser, Taser guidelines, but I do know it's a compliance tool and at that time that I used it, he complied,” Burl said.
The director of training for the parish wrote in an email that the use of force went against training guidelines. Burl was ultimately suspended for 12 hours following the internal investigation, but was simply reprimanded for using foul language.
The FOX 8 investigation revealed that Burl was previously employed by the Sheriff’s Office under the Wayne Jones administration, but was fired after a theft investigation. Burl was accused of stealing a suspect’s wallet, and he failed two polygraph tests during the internal investigation.
“I said it's time to end it because I've taken this as far as I can go with it, and for Sheriff Tregre to hire him when he came into office was a little surprising,” former Sheriff Wayne Jones said.
During an interview with Sheriff Mike Tregre earlier this summer, he said he had no knowledge of Burl’s termination, but Sheriff Jones claims that’s a lie.
“I had numerous conversations with him about Deputy Burl, and we would kind of monitor his activity. And for him to say he had no knowledge of what was going on, his position in the sheriff's office, as my public information officer, actually over internal affairs. He was in that department, as well. He had complete knowledge of that,” Jones said.
Tregre left internal affairs in 2009, one year before Burl was fired.
Tregre argued that during his transition, he did not have access to internal records while making hires - one reason why he didn’t know Burl was fired.
“I asked him, he told me he resigned. I did not see any official paperwork to show that he was terminated. I didn't have access to any of that,” Tregre said.
But Jones said records or not, Tregre knew what happened to Burl.
“It was his decision to bring him back and to retain him, and he'll have to live with that decision. But for him to say that he had no knowledge of it is a complete falsehood,” Jones said.
During an interview on Wednesday, Tregre was asked how he would refute Jones’ claims. That’s when he insisted on including Jones in the interview, requesting that he be called and demanding he come to the council chambers to hash things out.
“He's completely aware of that, he can hear me, he knows Burl, he knows that family,” Jones said over the phone during the interview.
“Can you come to the council chamber so we can do the interview on TV? I'll be standing by,” Tregre said to Jones over the phone.
That’s when it was suggested the phone call was good enough to even things out during the interview, but Tregre would not back down.
“No sir! Eye to eye, man to man, in front of the cameras. We will be standing by for you sir, I'm not going anywhere,” Tregre exclaimed while the camera rolled.
“He knows why he was terminated with my administration. We don't need to keep continuing on this. Burl is a bad hire, he was a bad hire on your behalf,” Jones said to Tregre over the phone.
While Jones believes as long as Burl is on the force he'll be a detriment to the community, Burl himself is confident he can succeed.
“After you aired your story, people in the store came and shook my hand. They said, ‘Graylin we know who you is.’ You know me as Deputy Graylin Burl, but I am Reverend Graylin Burl to other people. They said 'Rev, we know that’s not you. We know it has more to do with that,'” Burl said.
Graylin Burl has not had any complaints filed against him since the tasing incident, however, a civil suit related to the matter was settled out of court. While the amount paid was not disclosed, Jones said the first $200,000 from any civil suit comes from taxpayers, before insurance kicks covers the rest.
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