At the request of a judge, the local civil service board explained their decision to uphold the termination of two former Baton Rouge Police officers despite their criminal acquittal, calling the men "accessories" in a 2014 alleged rape in a BREC park, according to court documents.
Board members explained they were not bound by the same standards as the criminal jury, which in 2017 acquitted former officers Emerson Jackson and Travis Wheeler for their alleged role as "lookouts" while another former officer, Isaac Bolden, allegedly coerced a woman to perform a sex act on him. Bolden was also acquitted.
Two former Baton Rouge policemen fired in 2014 after their indictment on abuse of office charges but acquitted by a jury earlier this year won…
The Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board said they still believe Jackson and Wheeler "were guilty of malfeasance in office and failing to protect" the woman involved, according to their report filed Thursday afternoon in 19th Judicial District Court.
“The Board considered the jury finding in the criminal trial but determined it was not bound to the same conclusion based on the differing standards of review and the testimony of the officers which was not presented in the criminal trial," the board members wrote. "The board believed that Jackson and Wheeler were accessories to Bolden's rape or sexual battery."
The board's statements also say they found Wheeler and Jackson "not credible," while they found the woman who accused the officers to be credible. The Advocate typically does not identify victims of alleged sexual abuse.
In July 2017, the board upheld Wheeler and Jackson's termination for their "violation of law," a disciplinary charge leveled against the officers by then-Chief Carl Dabadie following their felony indictments in 2014.
Three former Baton Rouge police officers were acquitted Saturday night of abuse of office charges that accused one of them of coercing a young…
The two officers have since appealed the board's decision in state court, where District Judge Wilson Field remanded the case to the civil service board in February, asking the board to articulate what laws have been violated, as “violation of law” was the basis of the board’s decision to uphold the termination. With the board's answer filed, Fields is scheduled to rule on the appeal in December.
The lawyer for Wheeler and Jackson, Chris Sonnier, declined to comment on the board statements Thursday.