“I want to apologize to the family of Alton Sterling and also to his kids. We’re sorry because he should have never been hired and obviously, while we can not change the past, it is clear – that we must change the future.”Police Chief Murphy Paul, Baton Rouge Police Dept.
The Baton Rouge Police Department held a press conference today to discuss the Blane Salamoni civil service appeal case.
BRPD and Salamoni reached a settlement agreement where Salamoni will receive no back pay or compensation; instead, Salamoni’s termination will be replaced with a formal resignation.
“Today, I come to you not only as your Chief, but also as a father and a man who loves this community,” said BRPD chief Murphy Paul as he approached the podium.
Paul said Salamoni should have never been able to wear a uniform representing the department. “We are sorry,” said Paul. “He should have never been hired. While we can’t change the past, we can change the future.”
Paul repeatedly cited Salamoni’s conduct as unbecoming of a first responder. He said Salamoni did not disclose a prior arrest for domestic abuse on his employment application with the department. During review of Salamoni’s conduct as an officer, Paul said they found a pattern of aggression and inappropriate behavior between Salamoni and his interaction with citizens.
In a one-on-one interview with NBC Local 33, the co-counsel for Salamoni, Tommy Dewey said, “The federal government and the state government – the attorney general’s office – had both cleared (Salamoni) criminally. We felt confident that we would win the appeal in civil service but we wanted to put this behind him. This was a good resolution.”
“We must remember that some of our practices have traumatized this community,” said Paul.
At the time of the shooting, Paul was not the acting police chief however, in an exclusive with NBC Local 33, he said, “It doesn’t matter who the chief is, it was a decision that was made under this organization.”
“I think the acknowledgement of mistakes that was made is the right thing to do. We talk transparency and we presented it,” Paul said.
Following the press conference, Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston-Broome released the following statement:
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul announced today he has reached a resolution with the attorneys for former officer Blane Salamoni concerning his departure from the department. This has been a long time coming and it highlights my efforts to reform the Baton Rouge Police Department.
First, let me say I stand behind our officers, men and women who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect our citizens. However, our department no longer has room for individuals who can’t live up to its high standards or have shown a pattern of unprofessional behavior.
Public servants are and should be held to a higher standard, no one is exempt. Since taking office I have directed the department to implement national best practices and standards for 21st Century Policing. I have done this in the following ways:
Hired Chief Murphy Paul, a decorated officer with the Louisiana State Police.
Invested in equipment for officers such as purchasing new cruisers and radios.
Invested in technology that uses data to fight crime efficiently.
Updated training to help bridge the gap between officers and the community.
Updated the department’s use-of-force policy.
Conducted a police pay study to compare departments in the region.
I stand behind Chief Paul’s decision to put this matter behind us. Salamoni will receive no monetary compensation in this resolution.