The Lafayette Police Department is investigating an audio recording that a retired police officer says is evidence of one of his former co-workers using an offensive racial slur.
City-Parish Council Chairman Kenneth Boudreaux confirmed on Thursday that the department has launched an internal investigation into the incident, which was brought to light by former Lafayette police Officer Andres Landor.
Landor, who is black, announced his retirement Feb. 18 after 21 years on the force.
He sent a retirement letter to council members last week that was accompanied by an audio recording of racially offensive comments believed to have been recorded two or three years ago.
“As an elected representative of this government, I realize that the behavior and content of the allegation that has been made has no place in this government or our community,” Boudreaux said in a written statement on Thursday. “... I do not want the actions of one, or a few, to taint the great work of the police department as a whole.”
Boudreaux said he could not offer further comment on the issue, citing employee rights and civil service rules.
Police Chief Jim Craft and City-Parish President Joey Durel declined comment.
Craft had recognized Landor for his years of service at a brief retirement ceremony before the council on Feb. 18.
Council members thanked Landor for his service, but there was no public mention at the time of the comments in his retirement letter about a few “bad apples” in the department where he served for two decades.
In his retirement letter to council members, Landor wrote: “But I must say that one rotten tree will produce a bunch of bad apples, and at a sensitive time like the present, when it comes to the police and their relationship with citizens, those bad apples are the last thing you need on your department, as well as policing your community.”
In addition to the letter sent to the council, Landor said he filed a formal complaint on Monday asking the Police Department to investigate the statements on the audio recording as unprofessional conduct.
He already had posted the audio clip on Facebook, an action he said he took because he felt his concerns were not being taken seriously by city-parish government.
“I felt like no one was paying any attention to this,” Landor said.
Landor said he obtained the audio recording a few months ago. He said it is was recorded about two or three years ago by an officer who was involved in litigation against city-parish government.
The recording, which lasts about 26 seconds, seems to capture a piece of a larger conversation between two people.
The voice of the person who Landor said recorded the conversation has been altered, and neither speaker is identified in the recording. The person whose voice was not altered can be heard during their conversation making an offensive racial slur that included a profanity.
Landor said an officer with those views might not be a trusted partner for minority officers and that the administration should question whether such an officer should even be on the street.
“You start to wonder, ‘Will he really have my back in a situation?’ ” Landor said.
He added: “If you think that about your co-worker, how do you feel about the average citizen out there?”