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Ex-cop pleads guilty to discarding evidence in killing of fellow officer

26th October 2015   ·   0 Comments

A former NOPD officer pleaded guilty Oct. 16 to charges that he attempted to cover up shoddy police work during the investigation into the murder of fellow officer Daryle Holloway this summer, The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Wardell Johnson, 39, entered the guilty plea Oct. 16 before Orleans Parish Criminal District Judge Karen Herman. He had been indicted on two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of malfeasance in office and could face up to 40 years in prison.

WWL reports that Johnson was arrested July 6 after an internal investigation found he tried to leave a .40-caliber casing at the home of Travis Boys, who allegedly fired at his wife during an argument early June 20. Johnson also is accused of removing a box of .40-caliber bullets from the home without dropping them off at the NOPD’s evidence room.

Hours later, Boys, who was handcuffed in the back seat of Holloway’s police car, allegedly shot and killed Holloway as he drove the suspect to Orleans Parish Prison. The gun used, police have said, was a .40-caliber.

Investigators confronted Johnson with body-worn camera footage to question him about what NOPD Supt. Michael Harrison has described “as sloppy police work with clear intent to cover it up.” Johnson abruptly left that interview, saying he had to pick up his child from camp, police have said.

Investigators trailed him and saw him toss a box of ammunition into a canal near Morrison and Downman roads in New Orleans East.

Investigators once again called in Johnson for a follow-up interview, at which time he confessed to his actions.

In its most recent report, NOPD consent-decree monitor Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton commended the NOPD for its handling of the case and its aftermath. The NOPD began its third year of implementing the federally mandated, 492-point consent decree, which is designed to bring the department up to federal standards for constitutional policing, this past August.

In other criminal justice-related news, a FBI veteran with extensive experience in fighting organized crime was tapped to lead the New Orleans FBI field office after the recent departure of Michael Anderson.

WWL reported last week that Jeffrey Sallet has worked in Boston, New York and headquarters, investigating everything from public corruption and civil rights to counterterrorism. He won an award for his role investigating international organized crime.

On his last day in office, Anderson told WWL reporter Meg Farris about the biggest public safety challenge facing his successor.

“For my successor, that I’ve talked to him a length about is violent crime, in particular as I refer to as that unaffiliated that, that spike in that unaffiliated violent crime versus the neighborhood based gang. Not that that won’t remain an issue, but it is so random. It’s without patterns,” Anderson, who now serves as the Special Agent in Charge in the Chicago field office, told WWL.

Anderson added that the FBI needs to continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NOPD and all local law enforcement agencies, playing a huge role investigating crimes like the three restaurant armed robberies uptown. Sallet starts his new job next month.

This article originally published in the October 26, 2015 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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