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Louisiana enacts new law to protect police whistleblowers

By: - June 23, 2022 2:15 pm
Louisiana enacts new law to protect police whistleblowers

Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed into law a bill to protect police whistleblowers from retaliation. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed into law a bill to protect police whistleblowers from retaliation.

House Bill 745, by Rep. Kyle Green, D-Marrero, received unanimous support in both chambers of the Louisiana Legislature. The proposal underwent amendments that weakened it from its original version. 

Louisiana attempts to crack down on problem cops

The final version prohibits local police departments from discriminating, harassing, demoting, suspending or terminating employees who report malfeasance. It also establishes a civil cause of action, meaning whistleblowers could sue the law enforcement agency for punitive damages associated with any action taken against the employee who reports misconduct. 

Green’s original version of the bill included a provision that would have required all sustained complaints against an officer to remain in the officer’s personnel file permanently and be made available to the public upon request. It was removed during debate on the House floor. 

The new law is one of several incremental police reform measures that members of the Legislative Black Caucus have championed since the officer-involved killings of Alton Sterling in 2016 and Ronald Greene in 2019. It takes effect Aug. 1.

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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Much of his journalism has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and coverage of municipal and state government. He has received recognitions including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus and a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his two sons and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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