“You won. I quit. Will you leave me alone now?”
“There is no doubt in my mind that I have been enemy #1 of this administration for quite some time and I believe they’ve taken the latest opportunity of placing me on leave to do an investigation to find something, somewhere that I’ve done wrong.”
After serving the people of Baton Rouge for the last 21 years, Sgt. John Dauthier turned in his retirement papers today, June 23rd, 2022.
“I have loved my career and this department. I committed to stay another three years after my election to the Municipal Fire & Police Civil Service Board this past April, but the stress of being investigated yet again, is just too much on me and my family. I have said that the disciplinary process is being used as a weapon to bully and control officers, and there’s only so much a person can take. After my dedicated career of service to Baton Rouge, this is just one punch in the gut too many,” said Sgt. Dauthier.
“John had unfortunately become a lightning rod for both supporters and detractors of the current police administration. I hope that labor and management can find some means of rapprochement in the wake of his retirement,” said Dauthier’s attorney Cliff Ivey in response to his client’s retirement.
Dauthier was placed on administrative leave earlier this week, on Monday, June 20th, but given no reason why.
“For reasons unknown and undisclosed, John was put on administrative leave by BRPD,” said Ivey.
Up till now, Dauthier could not speak to the media. His lawyer had to speak on his behalf given BRPD’s policy of officers cannot speak to the media.
Today however, since Dauthier is no longer a BRPD officer, Unfiltered with Kiran reached out to Dauthier.
“Yes, I’m leaving earlier than I wanted to and I blame that solely on this chief and the administration, but I feel the biggest weight off my shoulders of no longer stressing and watching over my back of how they will retaliate against me for trying to speak up,” said Dauthier.
Dauthier worked in the internal affairs division under BRPD’s Chief Murphy Paul, but then said after he witnessed what he described as “blatantly partial doctrine of internal discipline,” he asked to be transferred out of internal affairs. He said the retaliation started soon after.
This is the third time Dauthier has been placed under investigation by Chief Paul. The first time was in 2019.
“It was retaliation because when he left internal affairs in 2019,” said Ivey. “Because weeks later, the department launched what John believed to be its first “disingenuous” investigation into Dauthier.” It’s why Ivey said Dauthier notified Chief Paul of possible policy and criminal law violations back in 2019 and asked for an outside agency to investigate.
Ivey said that sparked the next internal affairs investigation in Feb. 2021. He was suspended for 60 days and demoted in rank. However, when he appealed that, he was restored his rank to sergeant and the suspension was reduced to 39 days.
It was the subject of an investigative series by Unfiltered with Kiran called “Disparate Discipline.”
Monday’s administrative leave makes it the third time.
“My mental health and my family need to be my priorities and it took me a long time to come to terms with that. I cannot put my family through the ringer a third time. It was time to retire for myself and my family,” said Dauthier.
Dauthier recorded a “raw video” to share with the public and his fellow brothers & sisters at BRPD.
“I need to apologize to the men and women of the Baton Rouge Police Department. I signed on to be your civil service representative earlier this year and I’m bowing out now. This is not an easy decision because I know I’m letting a lot of people down,” said Dauthier. “So I am sorry. I know many of you depended on me, expected me to change the world. I can’t do it alone.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that I have been enemy #1 of this administration for quite some time and I believe they’ve taken the latest opportunity of placing me on leave to do an investigation to find something, somewhere that I’ve done wrong,” said Dauthier. “I have no doubt that they’re going to find it. No, I don’t believe I’ve done anything wrong. Do I believe that any person with the force, authority and resources of an entire police department can dig into any aspect of anyone’s life and find something they have done wrong? You better believe it. I could do it.”
Dauthier said this administration will “change the rules to make it fit the outcome they wish and I’m done.”
“I don’t take this of retiring lightly. It makes me sick to have to do it. I love this career. I picked this career because I believe in public service, I believed in law enforcement,” said Dauthier. “Having to give it up under these circumstances makes me sick to my stomach. But you know what else it’s been doing to me? It’s been killing me, my relationship with my family and my relationship with my wife.”
Dauthier also wrote an “open letter to the public.”
It in, he said, “certain officers are targeted while others are ignored, despite serious violations of policy and even criminal law. This isn’t mud-slinging, I have witnessed it firsthand. As a result of speaking out, I have been targeted over and over again, with seemingly endless investigations as punishment. What has happened to me is the quintessential example of what I claimed time and time again: Chief Paul and his administration have weaponized the disciplinary process to punish and silence detractors.”
BRPD does not cooperate or work with Unfiltered with Kiran to get a comment to the story. When Unfiltered with Kiran has repeatedly asked for comment and interviews in the past, the response from BRPD was:
“The Baton Rouge Police Department reserve the right to interview with reporters/interviewees who the department deem as impartial to incidents that may occur within the department or that is of importance to the community and but not limited to any individuals safety and knowledge.“