After a more than a two-year battle, the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Baton Rouge Police Sgt. John Dauthier, upholding a lower court’s ruling from 2021.
“Only one witness testified & his testimony largely carried the day for the plaintiff. Deputy Chief Myron Daniels was an MVP of this case,” said Dauthier’s attorney Cliff Ivey. “I’m glad the First Circuit is helping Chief Paul find the transparency and accountability he believes the Baton Rouge Police Dept. is lacking.”
Ivey filed the suit in early 2020 after public records Dauthier requested were given to him, but were so heavily redacted that they could not be used.
In 2019, Dauthier requested certain records from BRPD via a public records request, the contents of which Ivey says his client believed would highlight some of the unfair treatment allegedly taking place at BRPD.
“My client had hoped to show that the department’s administration was being selective in which officers they do and don’t investigate,” said Ivey. “Plus, we needed those documents for Dauthier’s defense as well.”
However, when the records were turned over, so much information had been “blacked out” that they were of no value.
It’s why Ivey sued in 2020. In May 2021, 19th JDC Judge Trudy White ruled the city-parish “erred” when it handed over the documents. She also ordered the city/parish “properly issue the redacted public records” and pay Sgt. Dauthier’s attorney fees. However, BRPD fought her ruling and appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeal.
On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, the First Circuit Court of Appeal rendered its decision in favor of Dauthier, a decision that should likely bring closure to the matter forcing BRPD to turn over the public records & pay for the costs of the litigation.
It’s the latest chapter in an ongoing feud between Chief Paul & Sgt. Dauthier. The veteran officer worked in the Internal Affairs division at BRPD under Chief Paul. However, Dauthier asked to return to uniform patrol shortly after citing “a blatantly partial doctrine of unfair targeting of certain officers.”
It wasn’t long after that Dauthier would become the target of multiple investigations himself. It’s been the subject of numerous investigations by Unfiltered with Kiran under a series called “Disparate Discipline.”
“This was a big win for us. It’s a step forward in shedding light in how police actually police their own and more importantly, when police choose not to police their own,” said Ivey.
This decision should force BRPD to properly turn over the public records to Dauthier.