BRPD officer fired, but why was he hired in the first place?

BATON ROUGE — The Baton Rouge Police Department officially fired one of its officers after a series of Unfiltered With Kiran Investigations.

Tremelle Neldare was placed on administrative leave Monday, June 12. Less than 24 hours later, BRPD confirmed Neldare was terminated on June 13.

The officer’s termination brought tears to the eyes of mother of one of Neldare’s harrasment victims.

“This was definitely a secret for the Baton Rouge Police Deptartment,” Angel Matthews. “It was a secret that would have stayed a secret had you not broken the story. It was a relief to hear he’s been terminated. It’s what I wanted and I think it’s what needed.”

Matthews’ son, Brandon Butler, who is now 42 years old and a Baton Rouge Police officer, was pulled over by Neldare in July 2000 when Butler was 19 years old.

Neldare

Records obtained by Unfiltered with Kiran show Neldare ordered Butler out of his car around midnight and to get on his knees. From there, Neldare made inappropriate sexual remarks.

“I needed to have peace and I needed Brandon to get something back,” Matthews said. “He lost something during that time but he showed up and that made me feel up to stand taller for him and to do what I’m doing now, to say thank you.”

Less than a month after the incident with Butler, officer Neldare responded to a domestic call where he separated a man and a woman. Neldare’s police report shows he told the man “there was enough p**** to go around 10 times or more and not to get caught up on just one.”

Neldare also allegedly advised the man, “It did not matter if she could stand on her head and make her p**** whistle dixie, sometimes you just have to move on.”

Then BRPD Police Chief Greg Phares documented that Neldare put his hands inside the woman’s private area before offering her protection in exchange for cooking for him and giving him a massage.

Unfiltered with Kiran reported in April that both victims reported their cases to internal affairs, which triggered Phares to fire him.

“Police officers cannot be allowed to act like that,” Phares said.

In the last 23 years, Neldare moved to the Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office and Port Allen Police Department. He resigned from both departments.

In March 2023, BRPD rehired Neldare. He was brought in at pay step 16, meaning a starting salary of $56,000 compared to other officers who start near $40,000 or pay step 5.

“The fact that the police chief re-hired officer Neldare is I think an embarrassment to the Baton Rouge Police Department and particularly an embarrassment to the police chief for bringing this disgraced officer back onto his force,” said Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche, a former prosecutor turned watchdog.

Neldare was put on the District Attorney’s Brady List, a list of officers who have credibility issues.

Follwing UWK‘s investigation, a private meeting was held between several women and East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

Sources tell UWK the mayor said she did not know Neldare was rehired. The next day, he was placed on administrative leave. The following day, he was fired.

“My concerns with the rehiring of Neldare was that BRPD literally fired him for sexual harassment and misconduct,” said Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR) Group President Morgan Lamandre who was leading the private meeting with Broome. “Rehiring him not only jeopardized the safety and wellbeing of our community, but it also sends a strong message that BRPD tolerates sexual misconduct or predatory behavior of officers. Rape is already one of the most underreported crimes so how can we as advocates credibly encourage victims to report to law enforcement and tell them they will be taken seriously if BRPD is willing to rehire someone who has an established record of sexual harassment and misconduct?”

“I’m a woman. To the mayor president, you’re a woman. How’s it feel to know this officer is hired to the Baton Rouge Police Dept. with the offenses that took place, just as a woman?” asked Matthews. “We don’t have to go any further. Woman to woman? How am I going to feel safe and I need to call him and that’s who you’re sending out? How am I going to feel safe?”

Lamandre and Goyeneche say the issue is not over even though Neldare is gone.

“Chief (Murphy) Paul owes the public an explanation as to why this disgraced officer that was fired for cause was rehired by him by his administration,” Goyeneche said.

When Matthews was asked if she could say anything to Chief Paul now, she replied, “I would say now it makes sense because originally I was like, ‘Make it make sense. Mayor president, make it make sense. Chief, make it make sense.’ I couldn’t get it together no matter how I tried. It didn’t make sense to me.”

Matthews said she and her son now have peace.

“For Brandon, I can see the relief on him. I would be lying if I said it hasn’t affected him because it did,” she said. “He never once not put on that uniform (while Neldare was back to work) or hesitated or missed one day because of this, not one, not one.”

Her prayer moving forward is that the termination possibly gives Baton Rougeons some hope for the future.

“We should have an expectation. We should be able to hope that things will be followed through and things will be done the right way and I hope this can be an example of what we have to look forward to in future elections and future decisions that have to be made because we are the people and we are the people of Baton Rouge, La.”

Unfiltered With Kiran reached out to Mayor Broome’s media contact for any response to Neldare’s re-hiring and termination. Pending settlement conversations with the City/Parish, our email and text were seen, but as of this report, we have yet to receive any comment. We also reached out to Neldare for comment, but he did not answer.

Download the Unfiltered with Kiran app from the Apple App Store and Google Play to stay updated on any new developments.

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