Will an officer’s third strike prove disparate discipline within BRPD?

“Why is he still an officer. Lying about your military records should be bad enough to get fired!"

A Baton Rouge Police Officer is now possibly on strike three when it comes to misconduct. BRPD’s Internal Affairs has launched an investigation into the officer for an alleged hit & run while he was on duty.

STEFAN JONES

In Sept. 2021, Stefan Jones admitted to falsifying military orders and turning them into BRPD to take off of work. He was suspended for four days. In Dec. 2019, Jones was caught on his own body camera using his taser to threaten college students and repeatedly using foul language including the “n“ word. He was suspended for 12 days.

Now, he’s under investigation for an early morning hit & run at the Gordon & Sandifer Auto Service on Perkins Rd. in Baton Rouge where he’s accused of hitting an air conditioning unit with his police car and driving off. The damage is in the thousands and the taxpayers could have to foot the bill.  

The co-owner of Gordon & Sandifer Auto Service, Jerome Wiley, said the incident was caught on their surveillance cameras and provided that video to Unfiltered with Kiran.

SURVEILLANCE VIDEO FROM GORDON & SANDIFER AUTO SERVICE

In the most current case, Wiley said Jones had been parked behind Gordon & Sandifer Auto Service for nearly half an hour. It’s not unusual for officers to park in secluded areas as they write up their reports awaiting the next call they need to respond to.

Wiley said when he got to work on Friday morning, May 13, 2022, he noticed the AC unit was damaged. That’s when he went to check the surveillance cameras and saw the incident took place around 2:37am.

“The outside of the unit is all bent and it slammed it into our wall so it actually dented the metal wall. He was sitting so close to the building that when he took off, he hit the AC unit. You can actually see the AC unit pop up. It’s not a good, close-up view of it from the camera, but you can see the whole AC unit move and all. He hit his brakes and swerved out to the left and made the corner and left,” said Wiley.  

Through some digging, Wiley said he was able to figure out the officer who allegedly hit his AC unit was Stefan Jones, the same officer who’s been on the wrong side of the law possibly three times in the last four years while employed at the Baton Rouge Police Dept.

“When I found out who it was, it didn’t surprise me because I already know about this guy’s past too. But my first shock was why didn’t he stop and leave a note at least? Most of them would have. If nothing else, if they didn’t want their commander to find out, they would come to us and say, ‘Hey man, I did this last night. Let me take care of it,’ but yeah, nothing,” said Wiley.  

Wiley said had Jones left a note, “I would have probably contacted him directly because accidents happen but you have to be responsible for your accidents.”

From the video, it could be said that Jones did not realize he hit anything. However, in talking to several experts in crime scene investigations, all said the fact that Jones turned left immediately after hitting the AC unit (also seen on the video), he had to have known. Plus, several sources confirmed to Unfiltered with Kiran that there was obvious and noticeable damage to Jones’ police car.

“We did have our air condition guy come out and check it late Friday afternoon and he recommended replacing it because of the way the copper coils are bent. He said it’s not leaking now but if you try to bend them out, it’s going to cause a leak so he recommended replacing it,” said Wiley. “I plan on the Baton Rouge Police paying for it, $4,758 to replace the unit outside.”

Wiley has since reported the hit & run to BRPD. He said an officer came out and wrote up a report. Wiley further added that on Monday, May 16, 2022, an Internal Affairs investigator also came out to Gordon & Sandifer Auto Service to figure out what happened and get copies of the videos. That means that report on Officer Jones was forwarded to Internal Affairs.

Jones has been the subject of previous investigations by Unfiltered with Kiran in a series whether there is disparate discipline at BRPD or not. In Jones’ previous cases of misconduct, he received slaps on the wrist.

Policy violations are put into three categories or classes for BRPD. Class 1 is the least serious while a class 3 violation is the most egregious. The discipline for a class 3 violation can include termination. 

In the case where Jones falsified military orders, Jones was paid for time off from BRPD in Aug. 2021 after he presented “drill orders” from an Army unit that had been deactivated eight months prior. Another questionable part of the letter was that there was no official signature from anyone at the unit or the Army. READ FORGED LETTER NOW

Jones blamed his supervisors that it was their fault he had to falsify the military order because they forced him to provide proof in order to take off from BRPD. Internal Affairs looked at five specific violations for Jones but BRPD Police Chief Murphy Paul only sustained two:

  • Abuse of sick leave (Not sustained) – Class 2
  • Conduct unbecoming of an officer (Sustained) – Class 2
  • Falsification of documents (Sustained) – Class 3
  • Violation of laws (Not sustained) – Class 3
  • Truthfulness (Not sustained) – Class 3

In 2019, Jones was caught on his own body camera telling LSU students to “go the f*** home and  get some p***y or something” and using the “n” word. His captain at the time was so disturbed by what was caught on his body camera that an email was sent up the chain in BRPD, including to Chief Paul. READ TRANSCRIPT OF BODY CAMERA

In that case, Jones was found to have violated three BRPD policies:

  • Command of temper (Sustained) – Class 2
  • Conduct unbecoming of an officer (Sustained) – Class 2
  • Carrying out orders (Sustained) – Class 3

Per BRPD’s own policy, Jones should have been suspended at least a minimum of 15 days after he violated two class 3 policies within a two-year period with the maximum discipline being termination.

Many have questioned why someone who admitted to falsifying a military order was not fired to begin with. Others within BRPD, prior to Chief Paul, have been terminated for falsifying records as have officers at other departments across the country.

For the most recent incident, if BRPD’s police chief decides to actually discipline Jones after Internal Affairs wraps up their investigation, Jones could be looking at a few different policy violations and possibly even a criminal law violation. One of those policy violations may be carrying out orders on how offices are to respond during a vehicle crash. That is a class 3 violation. Violating three class 3 policies within four years per BRPD’s own policy is a discipline of a minimum of 30 days suspended up to termination.

“Why is he still an officer. Lying about your military records should be bad enough to get fired,” said Wiley.

Unfiltered with Kiran did reach out to BRPD asking for a status update on Jones and whether BRPD had any response to the report, they never did respond to the request.

Sources have said Jones is now on restricted duty pending the outcome of the Internal Affairs investigation instead of working the streets.   

About Kiran Chawla 919 Articles
I'm an Emmy & Murrow Award winning investigative reporter who simply loves my job!

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