BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana State Police is trying to do some damage control after the 9News Investigators brought forth allegations of possible hazing and a cheating scandal.
Three troopers have been transferred out of their positions with the training academy and two cadets have been removed. Plus, LSP has launched an investigation into their own.
“The fact that the State Police have announced that they are conducting an internal investigation into this, I think speaks to the seriousness of what is beginning to emerge here,” said Metropolitan Crime Commission’s Rafael Goyeneche.
Goyeneche responded to a source telling the 9News Investigators that up to a dozen cadets showed up at area hospitals with injuries they allegedly received during the cadet training academy. The injuries included bruises, contusions, as well as a broken nose and arm.
Captain JB Slaton with LSP issued a clarification Tuesday night about the cadets injured in the incident.
Slaton says further investigation has determined there were no broken or fractured bones among the injuries, only bruising.
A relative of one of the injured cadets continues to dispute that, saying there were broken bones involved. The relative spoke to WAFB on the condition of anonymity.
“It is disturbing and presents the preeminent law enforcement agency in the State of Louisiana in a very bad light,” said Goyeneche.
“I told them I was sorry. I made a commitment to keep them safe and I want to ensure I keep that commitment to them. I take this very personally,” said Col. Kevin Reeves with LSP.
Col. Reeves apologized during a press conference held Tuesday, Oct. 15.
WAFB’s source says it all started with a cell phone and an alleged cheating scandal.
“The early part of last week, a cadet was found to have a cell phone. Through looking into that, some information was determined. Some cheating took place during our testing process and that cadet, along with another cadet, was separated from service,” said Col. Reeves.
That’s allegedly when certain LSP troopers forced cadets to physically abuse each other, according to WAFB’s source.
"Bruising, we are looking at bruising. As far as broken members, it's not unusual for us to have those in an academy," said Col. Reeves.
The source says the cadets were made to hit one another with training pads and were sleep deprived over three nights. Nearly a dozen cadets were reportedly injured. All this happened in the portion of training called defensive tactics. It’s one of the more physical parts of the academy. The source went so far as to call the incident “hazing.”
"I think hazing would be a strong word to put a label on that," said Col. Reeves.
“I think the allegations that are part of your story are that absolutely it is a form of hazing," said Goyeneche.
Goyeneche even went on to say the allegations presented so far may be criminal.
"So you’ve got the criminal hazing statute. You have malfeasance in office statute. You have second degree battery statutes. All of these are felonies, so this is not just a little innocent boys will be boys dust up in the State Police. This, in addition to the administrative side, has to be a criminal investigation as well,” said Goyeneche.
Goyeneche says if there’s the potential of a criminal violation, that needs to be investigated first before launching an administrative probe.
“My concern would go beyond just this immediate incident because if there was physical punishment and injuries inflicted on troopers, the question becomes is this a stand alone event or is this a part of history within Louisiana State Police?” Goyeneche said.
“I couldn’t speak to that," Col. Reeves responded.
“This is a black eye for State Police,” said Goyeneche.
But Col. Reeves did not respond to that question when asked at the news conference Tuesday. His public relations team cut the media off from asking any further questions.
On Monday, Oct. 14, families of two cadets did provide WAFB photos of the bruises, but then asked us to remove them.
The internal affairs investigation at LSP continues. Col. Reeves says they did not need an outside agency to investigate as he has confidence in his troopers.