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Monroe Police messes up report in Juanita Woods intimidation case

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 10:53 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) -More fallout regarding the City of Monroe’s handling of a threat against City Councilwoman Juanita Woods.

On October 8th, KNOE received an initial report from the city surrounding an investigation into an alleged threat made against the District Three City Council member.

The report narrative included two words. It read, “investigation continues.” After being pressed by KNOE Reporter Tyler Englander, the city admitted they messed up.

“It should have included more information,” said Monroe Communications Director Michelli Martin.

Attorney Scott Sternberg specializes in media law and public records and says the report didn’t comply with the law.

“Based on what I have reviewed, this initial report is woefully inadequate in that it just says a general investigation was completed,” said Sternberg. “it doesn’t say anything about the narrative that is required under the law.”

The report was so minimal, KNOE initially believed it might have been altered. Martin says that is not the case.

“That was not altered before we gave it to you because that is against the law, and we do not break the law,” explained Martin.

The city says they weren’t trying to deceive the public or the media.

“I think it is very important that we hone in the fact that this was a procedural issue, not a transparency issue,” said Martin.

As for how such a report was even written, Martin says it was a mistake.

“That initial report was so minimum and limited because the officer who was responding to that complaint was under the impression that other agencies were already involved and had been notified,” said Martin. “He did not want to jeopardize the status of their investigation.”

Martin says the city will look at their internal protocols to ensure reports are more thorough from now on.

“As far as that procedure, that protocol is going to be discussed with the police bureau and commanding officers on the best way to move forearm with the protocol and procedure,” explained Martin. “We are going to make sure we don’t have to deal with that anymore.”

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