BATON ROUGE — Following an investigation by Unfiltered with Kiran that revealed the Baton Rouge Police Department had hired an officer who was previously fired 23 years ago, the mother of one of the officer’s victims spoke about the rehiring.
“Who let this happen?”
Officer Tramelle Neldare, 56, was fired from BRPD in 2000 for conduct unbecoming of an officer, sexual harassment, and lack of truthfulness following two separate assault allegations.
On July 29, 2000, Neldare made a traffic stop on Brandon Butler, who was 19 at the time. According to Butler’s mother, Angel Matthews, Neldare abused his power that night.
“That feeling that I had that night when he came home from that incident, I felt it,” she said. “I’m like, what? Who? Who did they hire back? How did they hire him back? Why did they hire him back? Why? Who let this happen? “He (Neldare) said to Brandon if I put my… he didn’t even say penis… he said his dick in his face because he put Brandon’s face to him if he put it in his mouth, would he bite it and Brandon said ‘he kept calling me a little bitch.'”
Actions were ‘Quite inappropriate’
Less than four weeks after that traffic stop, Neldare became the subject of another internal affairs investigation, which involved a woman who claimed Neldare sexually harassed her. Greg Phares was the BRPD police chief at the time of the investigation.
“He intervened in what appeared to be a verbal domestic argument and used that opportunity to go in and inappropriately place his hands on the female that was involved in the argument and to make suggestions and invitations to her that were, in our opinion, quite inappropriate,” Phares said.
From fired to coworkers
Neldare was terminated for the incident. Records obtained by UWK show that after Neldare was fired, he was hired at the Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office in 2002 and worked there for three years before taking a break. He was rehired by the sheriff’s office in 2006 but resigned both times. He then moved to the Port Allen Police Department before resigning in 2010.
Butler, who is now a Baton Rouge Police officer, became coworkers with Neldare when he was rehired in 2023.
“Although we look now, 23 years later, to see the awesome young man he has become, that situation could have caused him to take a whole different turn towards the law, not even from a black or white perspective, just the law in general,” Matthews said. “Why should I respect the law when the law doesn’t respect me?”
Matthews said her son heard that the officer who had abused him 23 years ago would be working the same shift as him during roll call.
‘What signal does it send…’
“They have some good guys out there, you know, and we should be proud that they think highly enough of Baton Rouge to serve us, because that’s what they do. But when I read that testimony from that day, everything just came back,” Matthews said. “I relived the marks on his neck. Brandon has green eyes. His green eyes were just so red from the tears, and his face was red from where he had been held down on the car.
“What signal does it send to me, to Brandon, to the other mothers, wives, grandmothers, or to anyone who has men and women on the force when they bring someone like this back into the brotherhood? Into the family? Someone who has done this? What does that say?”
Neldare was added to the Brady List, which is a list composed by the district attorney and contains the names of law enforcement officials who have had issues with truthfulness upheld. East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore said he didn’t initially know that Neldare was rehired, but he received notice later before placing him on the Brady list. Moore stated that his prosecutors would prefer not to call Neldare as a witness in any future criminal cases.
“I want him gone,” Matthews said. “He should not be on the force because someone’s 18-year-old, soon-to-be 19-year-old is about to graduate this month. He needs to be gone because they could be the next Brandon.”