Update: See the response from Giroir's attorney after the jump.
Here's the press release:
New Orleans Police Department- Public Information Office
Superintendent Serpas Notifies Giroir of Pre-termination Hearing;
(March 27, 2012)- At 3pm this afternoon, Public Integrity Bureau Chief Arlinda Westbrook notified Jason Giroir that allegations of misconduct against him had been sustained, and that Superintendent Ronal Serpas was calling for a Pre-termination hearing regarding Giroir’s departmental violations as per existing policies and procedures. Upon learning this, Giroir submitted his resignation to the NOPD.
Superintendent Serpas said, “From the moment I was informed yesterday afternoon that Jason Giroir admitted to PIB investigators that he did write the offensive comments on the news station’s website, I immediately questioned his abilities to continue as a New Orleans police officer. My responsibility to the people of New Orleans, as well as to the professional officers on this police force, demanded I take swift action in this matter. I have accepted Giroir’s resignation, and believe it is in the best interest of this department and this city”.
Superintendent Serpas was alerted yesterday that Giroir had posted offensive comments below a news story on local television station’s website regarding Trayvon Martin. Martin, who was 17-years-old, was shot and killed last month by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida. After hearing that Giroir admitted he posted the remarks, Superintendent Serpas immediately suspended him indefinitely from the NOPD without pay.
Giroir was found to have violated the following NOPD regulations:
Rule 3- Professional Conduct- Paragraph 1- Professionalism
Rule 3 - Professional Conduct- Paragraph 13- Social Networking Websites, Facebook, Myspace, Print or Transmitted Media, Etc.
Rule 4- Performance of Duty- Paragraph 2- Instructions from an Authoritative Source to wit Chapter 22.12 (2c).
“He saw the repercussions of what his comments caused," said Giroir's lawyer, Eric Hessler when asked why Giroir decided to resign. “He regretted saying that. He certainly regretted the uproar that was caused in the community.”
Hessler said his client's resignation should not affect the ongoing investigation by PIB and NOPD homicide investigators into the fatal shooting of Justin Sipp.
“The Sipp shooting is a criminal investigation. I don’t think it will have any effect on it. It preceded his comment," Hessler said. "Obviously there was nothing done wrong by Officer Giroir.”
According to the police account, the firefight that led to Sipp's March 1 death happened after Giroir, who was working an off-duty security detail near City Park, pulled over his brother Earl Sipp — who was driving Justin to work — for having a broken license plate light. Giroir called for backup after discovering that Earl Sipp was driving on a suspended license and was wanted on a Jefferson Parish traffic attachment. (Police also claimed Justin Sipp lied to police about his name during the stop, which they say was confirmed by Earl.) Earl Sipp was handcuffed, and Officers Anthony Mayfield, Jr. and Michael Asevedo arrived. At some point, police say, Justin Sipp began shooting, ultimately firing 14 rounds at the three officers. Officers returned fire. The shootout left Asevedo and Mayfield seriously wounded, Earl Sipp shot in the leg and Justin Sipp dead.
Police have not indicated that they believe Giroir or either of the other officers did anything wrong, but some have questioned whether the initial stop was racially motivated, which both NOPD and Hessler have denied.
Then, less than a month later, Giroir commented on a story about the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin with the following: “Act like a Thug Die like one!” Later in the thread, responding to another commenter, Giroir wrote, “Eddie come on down to our town with a ‘Hoodie’ and you can join Martin in HELL and talk about your racist stories!:-P”
Hessler said his client is not a racist nor violent but merely under stress and, in those moments at least, quite bad at the Internet.
"People say things on the internet, write things on the Internet out of frustration, emotions that they would never act upon," he said. “He’s doing fine. Again, he knows in his heart that the response he gave on that forum was not meant to offend anybody, although it did ... I can imagine that to getinto a situation where two of his co-workers were shot and nearly killed, that can make you a little emotional and clearly he was.”
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