July 9, 2015 09:08 AM

Lafayette Police Sgt. William White

[Editor's Note: The following contains profanity.]

Is it not an issue of “great public concern” when an individual entrusted with protecting and serving our community uses hate speech when referring to certain citizens?

That was the reason cited Wednesday by Lafayette Civil Service Board Chairman Jason Boudreaux on why no investigation will be conducted into the case involving Lafayette Police Sgt. William White and the mere 30-day punishment he received following the release of an audio recording in which he references “these fucking dumb fucking niggers around here.”

Retired Lafayette police officer Andres Landor — a black man — attempted to bring the issue before the Civil Service Board last month arguing that the punishment handed down to White by Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft was insufficient. The board, however, largely refused to hear Landor's complaints, and even went so far as to kick this reporter out of last month's meeting for simply attempting to record the proceedings — a violation of the state's Open Meetings Law that has since prompted an investigation by the DA's office.

Andres Landor attempting to address the Lafayette Fire and Police Civil Service Board during its June meeting.
Photo by Patrick Flanagan

Landor and other leaders from the black community were again present at this month's Civil Service Board meeting Wednesday to argue that White should have been terminated for using such racially charged language. Considering that he’s responsible for protecting and serving all residents of this community, they're absolutely right. This is not acceptable.

And the board had the opportunity Wednesday to make an example of White and show that this behavior will not be tolerated. But in opting against taking a further look into the matter — as it did in a 4-1 vote — the civil service board has instead given its stamp of approval for the continuation of racist inclinations among our local police officers, ultimately opening up the door for recurrences in the future.

Craig Forsyth was the only civil service board member to go against the grain Wednesday. According to this story by The Advocate, Forsyth cast the lone dissenting vote, commenting that White’s language “does have a negative effect in the Police Department and the community of Lafayette and its citizens.”

He’s right.


Introducing The Current