BATON ROUGE, La. - A new billboard you may have seen while driving around Baton Rouge recently, is causing a billboard war of words.
If you drive along I-10 near College Drive, one of the many digital billboards popping up across the city says, ‘Fix police union leadership. The time is now,’ clearly calling out the Baton Rouge Union of Police. Click here.
“This union (of police) has defended bad cops. And it’s time we (NAACP) spoke up about it,” said Eugene Collins, President of the Baton Rouge branch of the NAACP.
The website https://www.endthecontract.com/ on the billboard calls on city officials to end the contract with the Baton Rouge Union of Police.
Collins tells reporters, they’re just responding to billboards that the Baton Rouge Union of Police has been putting up for almost a year now.
Some criticizing Chief Murphy Paul, the homicide rate in the city, officer pay, and defending Siya Creel.
“This (NAACP billboards) type of effort supports the good men and women that were not sitting at the desk playing with computers. This effort supports the good men and women that were actually out there fighting crime, while these guys were designing billboards,” said Collins.
The Baton Rouge Union of Police has put up billboards like this one below, directly across from BRPD headquarters. It calls on Chief Paul to ‘Defend the badge, not the criminal.
After the chief fired Union Vice President Siya Creel, for doing an interview on YouTube about the billboards last summer of 2020.
“We believe that Chief Murphy Paul is doing a great job in his role. But the union continually stands up and promotes this old form of policing, that is no longer viable in our communities,” said Collins.
Chris Stewart is the executive director of the Louisiana International Union of Police and helps represent the Baton Rouge Union of Police.
He released a statement to WAFB saying, “We welcome all input and look forward to meeting personally with Mr. Collins on his concerns. No good cop wants a bad cop next to them. That has been the position of our organization since it’s organization over 35 years ago. And we welcome open dialogue with any group.”
This is just another part in what feels like a never-ending saga between the Union of Police and Chief Murphy Paul, who said this last June of 2020, about the pair’s relationship.
“Do I wish that we could work more closely together, absolutely. Because does that stop the progress that we’re going to continue moving forward in this department. No, no, it’s not. It’s not. But yes, I would like a better relationship with them,” said Chief Murphy Paul on June 9, 2020.
“They (Union) take their billboards down, we’ll take our billboards down. Because at the end of the day, their billboards degrade our city. They shed a poor light on our city, and you can’t tell me that that’s good for anybody in our city,” said Collins.
Mayor Broome gave a statement on this story, saying:
“We continue to prioritize transforming our Baton Rouge Police Department by focusing on and implementing 21st Century Policing Standards. Just earlier today, the Metro Council unanimously passed our second 3 percent pay increase for the department this year, which will be funded through efficiencies.
In order to continue making progress, we will need our community, our leadership, the men and women in blue, and the police union to work together in the best interest of Baton Rouge.” - Mayor Broome