Richard A. Webster, Verite

Richard A. Webster, Verite

Before coming to Verite, Richard A. Webster spent the past two and a half years as a member of ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. He investigated allegations of abuse against the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and claims of racial and economic inequities within Louisiana’s Road Home recovery program following Hurricane Katrina. Webster previously was a member of The Times-Picayune’s investigative team, reporting on numerous special projects including “The Children of Central City,” an in-depth look at childhood trauma through the lens of a youth football team; “A Fragile State,” a multi-part series on Louisiana’s mental health care system; and “Dying at OPP,” which examined the deaths of inmates in Orleans Parish Prison.

A screenshot from crime camera footage that shows Michael Celestine at the corner of Pauger and North Villere streets. The footage led to Celestine's stop and arrest on January 13th, 2020

Lawsuit shows growth in surveillance-based police stops, advocates say

By: and - March 18, 2023

NEW ORLEANS – Twenty-five year old Michael Celestine walked outside his friend’s 7th Ward home to take a phone call and smoke a cigarette. Wearing a Tommy Hillfiger puffer jacket on a brisk day in January 2020, he chatted with a friend, walked across the street and then went back inside. What Celestine didn’t know […]

red and blue flashing lights atop a police car

Louisiana police agencies fail to report why most officers leave, database shows

By: - February 24, 2023

NEW ORLEANS – Law enforcement agencies in Louisiana are failing in a majority of cases to report why officers leave their employment, as the law requires, according to findings from a new police accountability database created by the Innocence Project New Orleans. A 2017 state law requires the agencies to report to the Council on […]

Shreveport PD settles suit over alleged beating of Black man for supporting Black Lives Matter

By: - February 2, 2023

The Shreveport Police Department has settled a federal lawsuit filed by a 37-year-old Black man who said an officer assaulted him after he expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Brandon Kennedy said he was standing in line at a Family Dollar store in late 2020 talking to another customer about police brutality when […]

the taillight of a sheriff's patrol car with lights atop the roof flashin

Almost half of Louisiana sheriffs are violating public record laws

By: - January 26, 2023

Nearly half of Louisiana sheriffs are in violation of a state law regulating the preservation and destruction of public records, according to documents provided by state officials. Of the 64 sheriffs statewide, 23 have never secured state approval for a records retention policy, three allowed their policies to expire, one as far back as 1980, […]

Shredded paper exits a paper shredder

Louisiana sheriff’s dept. has destroyed records of alleged officer misconduct for years

By: - January 12, 2023

NEW ORLEANS – The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has been unlawfully destroying its deputies’ disciplinary records for at least 10 years, according to records provided by state officials responsible for overseeing the retention of records by state, parish and local agencies. The finding comes at a time when the Sheriff’s Office is facing multiple lawsuits […]