SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Chief Ben Raymond told KTAL/KMSS staff it is disappointing to have an off-duty officer arrested in an interview on Friday where he spoke about the recent arrest of SPD police officers.
Officer Darius Morris was booked into the Shreveport City Jail and charged with one count of attempted second-degree murder after shooting a citizen in the leg on Feb 19.
Three other officers are facing non-related criminal charges ranging from domestic violence, spousal abuse, and improper telephone communications.
“Officers take an oath to uphold the law protect and serve the citizens and to keep our lives as un-solely as possible in order to be good representatives of what the citizens should be. So when an officer makes a mistake, we lose some of that trust with citizens it makes it difficult,” said Chief Raymond.
As a member of the community, Chief Raymond says officers are not required by law to take law enforcement action when off duty, but a lot of officers prepare themselves to work off duty.
According to Chief Raymond, officers being arrested is common in every police department. He says you can’t take this one incident and say things are falling apart because an officer makes a mistake.
“If you think of any agency or company that has 700 employees such as the Shreveport police department, people are going to make mistakes, there are going to be people that are involved in off duties activities that can be illegal. Hopefully again, they learn from their mistakes. I don’t wish any personal ill will toward anybody but from a leadership position of an organization we do expect our officers to be representative of what the law says and we are going to hold them accountable,” said Chief Raymond.
Chief Raymond says officer arrests within the department is at a high for the month of February. Five to seven officers have been arrested each year over the last 20 years. In 2019, six officers were arrested.
Raymond said Officer Morris was charged because a criminal investigation found that he did not react appropriately to the situation.
Under the civil service law, Morris has been placed on leave and will be paid for seven days. Following those days, Chief Raymond will have the option to place him on paid or unpaid leave.
The criminal investigation into the shooting is ongoing. When it is completed, it will be handed over to the district attorney, who will decide if his charges are appropriate. The police chief says Morris will be treated just like any other citizen, innocent until proven guilty.
The administrative investigation will be determined through internal affairs who will look at employment records, policy, and procedures with the SPD rules.
Chief Raymond says it is not uncommon for charges to be cleared at the end of the investigation, as past officers have been allowed to return to the job.