The Baton Rouge Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board has upheld a two-day suspension imposed on a Baton Rouge police officer after his body camera footage showed him repeatedly using profanity during interactions with the public.
Officer Marshall McDermitt had appealed his discipline to the civil service board, which voted on Thursday to uphold the suspension imposed last month. The local board hears appeals from firefighters and police officers who feel their discipline is unfair.
The internal investigation into McDermitt's conduct started after East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III filed a complaint based on a November 2017 incident, according to the suspension letter written by Police Chief Murphy Paul and released by the civil service board last month. The officer had responded to a call for assistance involving a vehicle that wouldn't stop. McDermitt arrived on scene after the driver had gotten into a crash on Perkins Road and then ran away.
Paul cites McDermitt's body camera footage, which shows the officer repeatedly "referring to the suspect as a 'b****'" during the ensuing chase. His statements included "tase that f****** b****" and then later — after the suspect had been caught and placed in handcuffs — McDermitt "appeared to celebrate the tasing by telling others on scene that 'I tased that b****.'"
Paul wrote that investigators found other instances of profane language on the officer's body camera footage, showing "a pattern of behavior (that) may violate department policy."
During another incident the following month, McDermitt again used profanity in interactions with a handcuffed suspect, including: "You're a big motherf*****" and "I'm not the one you want to f*** with."
And while responding to reports of a stolen car in May, McDermitt was chasing a fleeing suspect when he told the person to "f****** stop or I'm gonna f*** you up." His radio microphone was on and another officer responded telling McDermitt to "watch your language and give your location."
The chief's letter mentions five instances of profane language between November 2017 and June 2018.
Paul found McDermitt had violated the department's command of temper policy, which states that officers "shall exercise emotional control while in the performance of their duties" and avoid using "rude or derogatory language (or) racist terminology" and attempting "to deride, offend or insult anyone."
In addition to the suspension, McDermitt was ordered to take classes focused on improving his interactions with the public.
Civil service board President Julie Cherry said the board's five members voted unanimously during their meeting Thursday to uphold the chief's discipline decision, which she said was well within the recommended sentence under department guidelines for an offense of this nature.
Earlier this year, McDermitt received a lifesaving award from the department during its annual awards ceremony. His attorney did not respond for a request for comment Sunday afternoon.