City marshal's emails requested

by Christiaan Mader

Everything about that press conference seemed fishy, so we're going fishing.

Brian PopePhoto Robin May

The IND has submitted a formal public records request to City Marshal Brian Pope, requesting the release of any email correspondence that references the planning, content or motivation behind yesterday’s press conference. In that conference, Pope produced a video and transcript meant to suggest that sheriff’s candidate Mark Garber had travelled to Honduras with the express purpose of recruiting business from illegal immigrants. Pope also attempted to link Garber’s trip to an alleged policy of routine lenience for misdemeanors perpetrated by undocumented immigrants on the part of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office. Pope was unable to substantiate any of his claims, and a review of the video he referenced does not support his characterization of Garber’s trip or intentions.

Given the highly politicized nature of the presser, it is our belief that Pope was not operating solely of his own accord and concern, and that his statement was the result of collaboration with an agency outside of the marshal’s office. That belief is further supported by Pope’s refusal to acknowledge the source of the video and obvious discomfort with the script from which he read. Furthermore, media invitations to his conference were distributed via a Campaigner mailing list, an email blasting service used often in political campaigns to manage large email communications. Should our request turn up any evidence of collusion to use his public office to smear Garber or otherwise affect the outcome of the sheriff's campaign, that would obviously constitute a severe breach of public trust.