A Walker Police Department sergeant hung a noose in the station's squad room several weeks ago and the situation came to light on Wednesday when Chief David Addison requested the Attorney General's office to investigate.
Addison, who took the position in January, said he found out about the incident several weeks ago and suspended the officer for three days without pay. The noose was made out of twine and was attached to a pipe over a desk that is used by suspects and officers alike, Public Information Officer John Sharp said.
The incident happened on a Sunday night, Addison said, and once the string was found the next morning staff began trying to find out who did it. No one admitted to making it at first, but officials looked at video footage to identify the officer.
Addison and Sharp both said they would not release the name of the office, but Addison did say that the person has been with the department for more than 12 years.
The situation came up once again on Wednesday night after Addison had a discussion with WBRZ reporter Chris Nakamoto about a specific state law that prohibits the public display of a noose in a public place with the intent to intimidate.
Addison said that in response, he requested a further investigation of the incident by the Louisiana Attorney General's office.
"This is to me a criminal act and if it is we’re going to take appropriate action with the officer," Addison said. "And whatever (the Attorney General's office) tells me to do, whether it's to arrest the guy, we're going to do whatever they tell us to do... Any kind of bad behavior towards any one, white, black, oriental, won't be tolerated."
Sharp further explained that it will be up to the Attorney General's Office to determine if they want to pursue the investigation or not. A spokeswoman from the office said it was their policy not to comment on investigations in any way.
Sharp added that part of the law includes that there must be intent to intimidate.
"It requires the intent to intimidate a person or a group of people," Sharp said. "And so it seems to us that the issue is what was the officer's purpose in putting this piece of string up in the squad room."
The desk that the noose was hung on a pipe above is used by both officers and suspects, according to Sharp, but no arrested persons or suspects were present in the room during the incident.
The state statute says a noose "historically has been used in execution by hanging, and which symbolizes racism and intimidation."
It also says that whoever commits the crime will be fined no more than $5,000, put in prison with or without hard labor for no more than a year, or both.