Louisiana police watch dog group suggests amending police pension forfeiture statute

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 6:39 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A police watchdog group wants changes to the pension of police officers. Across the country, some get their pension even if convicted of a felony. In Louisiana, there’s a law that says pension can be garnished, but only for financial crimes. And the watchdog group says it’s time to include police brutality.

“The idea behind this is if you’re going to betray the public trust and commit an act of corruption that is associated with your official duties or public office, then the consequence is, you’re going to lose your pension,” said Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche.

Goyeneche said adding civil rights violations in the pension forfeiture law would act as a deterrent and address police brutality, including cases like Jacob Brown, a former Louisiana State trooper who resigned amid multiple allegations of police brutality and was indicted on deprivation of rights under color of law, which is a felony in connection with the assault on Aaron bowman of Monroe.

“You want to create a financial incentive for officers to always comply with their rules and regulations and code of professional conduct,” said Goyeneche.

Reason Foundation data shows pensions may be garnished in Louisiana if a public employee or elected official is convicted of misconduct detrimental to their position. But that only applies to financial crimes.

The Metropolitan Crime Commission’s president said it’s time to update the law to hold authorities accountable and hitting their pocketbook could be that stimulus for change.

“I think that would be appropriate because you want to disincentivize any public official from creating an act of corruption. At the time we didn’t contemplate civil rights violations but a civil rights violation is a betrayal of their oath of office, their official duties and it also exposes the state and the agency to civil damages,” he said.

Goyeneche said his group will speak with Louisiana legislators and work to get the current statute amended to include civil rights violations.

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