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WWL>Topics>>12-10-13 1:10pm Angela: with OPP whistleblower Bryan Collins

12-10-13 1:10pm Angela: with OPP whistleblower Bryan Collins

Dec 10, 2013|

Angela talks with Orleans Parish Prison whistleblower Bryan Collins and his attorney Eric Kessler.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well I hope you're having a beautiful day because it just turned out to the beautiful thing. Little sentence because we've lost a real original and our community Frank Davis. Beloved friend and a wonderful talented man. We're going to be talking with many people who adored him in our third hour at 3 o'clock and I hope you'll join us. But we're going to begin with them a topic I think our whole community has been discussing. He is known as the whistle blow for Brian Collins worked at the Orleans parish prison for four years and says he saw unconscionable things. Violence an inhumane conditions. A photo of a bloodied -- published in the times Picayune changed his life. It was a photo he took to prove his allegations. That things were not being run properly at the jail. It is a picture that ultimately ended his career at Orleans parish prison. Brian Collins officially resigned his position late last week. And he has quite a story to tell and I truly appreciate you joining us Bryant I think people wanted to hear your voice for a while. Thank you very much Angela and firstly. Allow me to say with all due respect I would like to offer my condolences. On the passage of passing of mr. Frank Davis. Certainly my heart and thoughts are with his own wife Mary Claire. His family and of course the entire WWL family. Additionally I'm quite honored to be with you today. To discuss. The matter of -- you know current situation and everything that has transpired. During this entire process. Well one and we want we really start from the top and first thank you very much for those comments about frank again very special man cast. What was the what was the final decision for you. And we'll go back to what was about what was that moment when you send in. Well the final decision in the moment that I had determined was going to be the end of it all for me was. The retaliation. I would have to say that I experienced. After releasing the photo. Be bloody snow. And an inmate named Brian. Ellis. What ensued after the release of that photo. Was originally they did not know what was it known as anonymous and -- absolutely originally they had no idea. Who. Could have released the photo. But in the game would ensued immediately was the all out relentless. Search and pursuit. For the person that released the photo and as I said back -- I considered. How the agency. Did not do any meaningful investigations. Into any previous. Crimes. Any previous acts of violence. Yet they -- going to. -- nor experience and invest every single resource to try and determine who it is that released a photo that simply. Contradicted it. The statements public statements from the -- I found that to be very unconscionable. To me and for me that was it. Let's kind of go back in time. You were hired four years ago you were making a career change you print and in bullet that you work for modeling company you work for other places correct. In sales yes. And what you just. Had a longing to work for law enforcement is something you wanted to do was a kid. Run as a very question Laura and daughter seems to have been deeply ingrained in my DNA. I've always been in law and order type of person. And I've always admired and frankly aspire to be of public service. To the citizens of New Orleans and although my career path Turkish -- divergence early going. When he did come time for me to make what I thought we'd be a final. Career change. I wholeheartedly. And very excitedly decided to pursue a law enforcement career. And I chose the on each parish sheriff's department because it was the quickest of the choose to be honest with -- I just wanted to hit the ground. Start contributing. In the -- a what I thought would be a long and illustrious career of service. -- the -- applied to the you know PD I had never applied to the NO PD. As of late. When I was with Coca-Cola I did apply for their reserve division but bag and then it took so long. And the process was very arduous and frankly they did just warrant conducting academies. Back then so. I was making a very good living. Working for Coca-Cola and the position that was and then I was satisfied with in sought -- just put it on the back burner at that time. But so that you sent them. I'm done with corporate America are. I'm just really interested in starting. This new -- a combination of both you know I was done with corporate America. And more importantly with the last. How would you say. Energies that I had I wanted to -- invested. In. Giving back. Providing service to the citizens of New Orleans in a police capacity. And 12 game and I plan at all these parish sheriff's it was. An expedited process and when I got in I was frankly elated and excited. Anxiously anticipating a gain a long career. And unfortunately. What I soon. Realised. From my experiences. It would be nothing but that. OK so now a year a full time employee you are a deputy in the sheriffs and prison. And you start to see things was that early on was it win. Angela I have to tell you that it was it's instantaneous it was almost immediate. From the first and pay that I was assigned to. The building that. It was my whole post. Which is now shuttered the house of detention. It was like walking into a different world it was like so surreal. The conditions. That the inmates who lived in. The attitude of the deputies. The attitude of the ring. Once again from day one any reasonable. Person would you follow owned. Everything from the point of entry into the building. To the point of exit when they left they would have followed everything. I objectionable. And you're talking filth you're talking. I'm talking and field them talking -- sanitary conditions I'm talking inmate on inmate violence. I'm talking deputy. On inmate. Violence. I'm talking. As judge after stated. Just absolute deliberate indifference towards the humanity. -- this vulnerable population. You got to understand. When a person is arrested it they are not. Guilty. Most of the inmates that or incarcerated not -- they weren't van. Or pretrial. Many of them -- in for a nonviolent. Offenses. In Angelo what I saw when I looked into the ice of those humans. That I was responsible. For supervising. In assuring their safety their care their custody and control of them. I saw. Nothing but abject abuse frankly and I knew something was withdrawn. And -- going did you say I'm going to talk to a super. Well at the beginning. I mean once again Dana I have already. Communicated the story of the elderly inmate who was so forced to. You know dedicate yes yes in his hand. I've seen in May to halt tied in stripped down to their ankles with there. But -- in their rear ends exposed and we walk upon a scene like that. And nothing is ever done to those rates so the this supervision. And it always parish. Sheriff's office. The very end. As is now. Is as complicit. As the upper administration and the command staff they don't care Angela. So you go at some point early you're saying on to a supervisor or raincoat or how what do but the process is thinking of let's take that the elderly man who had a death came in his own hands. Why was that allowed to happen is that which US from what what. What do we do. We'll certainly do the question was. How could this be permitted. And what are we going to do to a 48 this from occurring in the future. And who was gonna be held accountable. For. This is this -- horrible act. Of indifference is it me. Because I'm on the floor. Is it going to be the senior -- more senior deputy because he's the one that's pretty much training and guiding me at this particular time. And what I found out is that. The answer then. As it is now is no one. No one's going to be accountable. Don't worry about it this is the way it is. And that was a prevailing. Attitude of the administration. And still lists. How many instances of this not necessarily that dramatic picture where you would complain or bring to somebody's attention this is a concern. In the four years how many times. Are boring mean I would say I would have to do to. Describe it as innumerable in my mind in my experience because. In my mind I'm thinking. If I report. Such egregious activity -- a supervisor. Or an administrator. One time. That should be an. If I have to do it multiple times. That's two -- because again you have to understand in I would I -- certainly hope that the listeners understand we -- not talking about in animate. Objects on a shelf we're not talking about. Dollars in cloying short in a -- draw more. We're talking about human lives that are at stake here. Stay with this we're gonna continue a very important talk with Brian Collins the whistle -- -- to some. We welcome you back we're talking with Brian Collins who is known as the whistle blower the man who worked for -- Orleans parish prison for four years. Was found the conditions warrant. And Doug took a photograph took some progress and took a photograph summoned to the times Picayune and ultimately that photograph. Was really your demise there because it was published as you were saying as soon as it hit this full blown investigation who. Allow that to go out. And who took it too -- go out and ultimately you decided to. I'm just gonna admit that -- I did this and at that point sheriff Desmond did he fire you or or what what happened. Well and I just a little bankrupt. On how this all unfold it. When I took that picture. A ticket from the mental state of mind of warning to. Memorialize. This event and have it indicates. In case. This same pattern. Of sweeping. Things serious acts of violence on the -- were to occur. And just as I. Already knew. That is what began to happen. I saw all of the mechanisms. That usually begin to come into play to cover it up into suppress the truth. Contain it -- allies it beginning to. Getting initiated right. And very briefly this was a man who had been stabbed twenty times and correct me former publisher for Grossman said they were just superficial boomers. In fact they were not superficial wounds and that the the picture shows a very bloody self. Yes you are and exactly exactly right this is a young man that was stabbed multiple times. From head to torso to lay eggs. And of course as you mentioned the shares characterization of it was that it was a minor incidents super -- issue and scratches. And he was only brought to the hospital wallet out of an abundance of caution. I felt that. The photograph. Which speak for itself I did not have to make a single comment no one needed to make a comment. Publish it in the while. Reasonably intelligent people to look at that photo and try to reconcile it with the cursory and brief description that was given and just as I anticipated or we all would know what happened. That you cannot reconcile the two it was a very horrid. Seen now sense that photograph when it it was was released again there was an immediate onslaught of of investigative activities. There were threats made openly during our deputy roll call the senior -- I'm ranks yeah. If anybody knows anything here exactly via so they were a number of threats made. And obviously they they were met with they said because. From that point Owen. Once they reduced the quote -- suspects down to. Myself and one other individual. The pressure. That was beginning to be applied on me from the investigators he SOD investigators. Was. Very crushing very crushing. It was unfair. A lot of the tactics that they use I would say were almost. Gestapo like. Not permitting me to have console. Even though they are alleging. That this may have been a criminal. -- Even a person that is in the public. Has a right to console when they're being charged criminally. But they attempted to deny deprive me of that which I knew better so at that particular juncture in time I ended it I just said listen. I'm not done is speak with you until I do have counsel now that was back in June as I said their reaction was very swift. And then there was a four month hiatus. Sort of settled a little bit. And then it all began ganging. During the latter part of October suddenly. With the call to and to my phone. From an investigator. Stating that they're trying to locate me the department had dispatched a mortgage. Sheriff's department unit. To collect me. In my question to the investigator was. Do you have a warrant for Omar arrest why couldn't you have simply notify me by following the same way you called me here right now. Why couldn't you have simply made the request to come in for me to come in. For which she did not ever replied I immediately acquire what is in nature of this investigation what is this all about. He did not ever recline. He insisted that I come in insisted that I give him my whereabouts and I -- to feel like I was a fugitive frankly. And that's when I immediately realized that this is a resumption. Of their punitive actions against me. And just as they had stayed it initially Angela. They were not going to stop someone was going to pay because the quote man is pissed uncorked. Very ominous statement in this proved that they intended to follow through. Let me ask you guess what keeps rearing its head is the fact that it's against the rules. To have the cell -- in jail that you took of the picture with herself -- You have knowingly said yes I didn't and so they're really saying you broke the law because you took the picture with a cell phone and isn't a lot out. Yes that is the resounding position that they have in the keepers stating that however. It is widely known throughout the department. It was even admitted it's by the primary investigator. Lieutenant dog givens. That they are fully aware they're cognizant. Of the fact that. All deputies bring their phones into the building. And yes Angela there is in the wheezing and a revised statute that prohibits. Bringing any kind of -- electronic. Telephonic or recording device into a -- Yes it is across. However as I said at this agency. -- has been complicit in tolerant. Of the breaking of that. Law. Frankly and in this instance in my instance. They want to. Do what selectively. Persecute and prosecute me for using a phone. That simple the confirm. What we all had been hearing. You understand the public has always heard about the can on new of the consent decree from the plaintiffs. Standpoint. From the plaintiffs representatives. Standpoint Southern Poverty Law Center the Department of Justice. -- have never really had any of that information I had the chance to have it corroborated by someone that was closer. To the action someone that was on the inside. In of course. Yeah it's a jail it's it's a be eroding that is secure. And curtains are drawn in you don't know what's going on on the other side it. And the only thing that I want to prove in did was that. Whipped the plaintiffs' actions or in in their cause of actions is true. This isn't something that's being trumped. Tuchman is something it had taken quickly. You're not the only one who solved this car. Now I'm not why don't you think or do you think somebody else might have complained as well. I do believe that they were other deputies that. Perhaps communicated some of their experiences and did complaint but. By and large there is a very deeply entrenched culture of fear and intimidation. That are arranged in that agency. And most of them were very free to speak any more than they did if they did it. Stay with this we're gonna continue this important discussion with. I'm Brian Collins but now let's go to the newsroom and Chris Miller we're talking with a man known as the whistle blower who spent four in New Orleans parish prison as a deputy. And has sent last week late last week -- resigned after after really very complicated but horrifying frankly. Let's go back to the conditions the conditions were primitive at best. You mentioned the situation where you you know the deputy came upon somebody who was home tonight on naked and home tonight. And and I eschewing the commercial why would somebody make it -- hot. And you felt that it was because it was a potential rape. Yes certainly I mean why else would a group of men. Prisoners other prison yes other prisoners why else with -- a stripper man down. To his knees. Exposing his career section. -- tie him in strictures that were so tight that we had to use a device to release this man that. Any amount of pain that would have been inflicted upon him he would not have been able to escape the buying things why else would you do that. That's not a game you understand so would you have been filed a complaint at that point or. What happens to that the guys who were standing around who supposedly. Might have been the ones who -- time. Well when you come upon a scene like that Angela the bottom line is that is an attempted crime that should have been at that time. Duly thoroughly investigate it listen you're dealing with a limited number of inmates right. It would not have taken march. To get the proper investigators up there to question them all in at least try to determine. What was going on here in hold someone accountable and fortunately that did not happen -- as far as reporting it. Well the next a chain of command was already on the scene and that was the watch commander. So there you have. The watch commander actually observe the same thing at that time. We're talking about. Inhumane conditions as you say. These kinds of violent acts. Want from your perspective after four years there is the answer do you have to have more supervision do you have to have. What kind of accountability structure should be in place. Well. The the short answer is the department needs proper leadership. Proper leadership. Had the occasion to speak with. An individual that has decades. Of experience in representing inmates across country. And one thing that is common in every where or run organization jail sheriff's department it's a strand. And uses a strand that goes from the highest level the sheriff all the way down to the lowest level. The Frontline deputy and if the sheriff. Is a good leader. The organization. Will be good it will be honorable will be aid lawful organization if the sheriff is. Not so good then that's that you could expect to trickle down this strand. Throughout the organization so. And music -- One on one with -- and I have made between myself in and my attorney Eric Kessler who's been tremendous benefit in a very very grateful. Off for him we have mate. Jointly and several weeks. Several attempts to have face time with share mauling Desmond and his administration. To try to resolve this because it's all could have certainly been avoided early on. But we've been met with nothing but rejection. After a while and you're not getting any response to those complaints that -- making and are not doing any follow lot. And would you go back to the original person that you went to and said hey what about XY NC. What happened to that. Would just be dropped. Well you have to understand how -- how easy it is to become somewhat. Indoctrinated in assimilated into our culture of indifference you learn very quickly that. It doesn't hate you you'll get no different result going back repeatedly. The only thing that you would get is probably heightened sensitivity. Towards you. For constantly coming back in asking about the same thing I cannot over emphasize. The depth. The indifference. Within the organization which has permitted it to devolved to the condition that it's -- Stay with -- we're gonna continue this and we have -- Eric Kessler on the line right after this outbreak we are back talking to Brian Collins. About what he's lived experienced and his very strong stand being with -- Laura do have to say you have filed suit. With the EU -- Yeah -- the official complaint. Has been followed with the RE EOC. And it is a charge of retaliation. Because this is clearly. Nothing less than her talent we do. Have to say the sheriff Sussman did offer you another job as you say it was to take you away from the physical place where you work. Against where the prisoners were that you had no problem with and other deputies -- north problem with an ever gonna put two and another area near the kitchen. Her net score that is correct and so he said your shift wouldn't changer -- wouldn't change so the two opted not this is not what the route you wanted to go. Well certainly wasn't an option of viable option for me because once a gain throughout this entire process in this ordeal. My biggest legitimate concern for myself as well as former attorney Eric was the resolution. Of any of these. Charges any of these and administrative investigations. To get that resolved. You mentioned your attorney Aric -- Kessler and you were on the line thank you so much for holding Eric. Thank you -- your comments. Well it's. Interesting that as -- that here officer appointment got received a package from an inmate. And Angola. And upon reviewing the package he's been in and make it's that your partner on Angola through its offer to testify. You. And and option content -- but everything -- true you relate to that and it letters has documentation center. Stories that that mirror exactly. But that saying such an area as described by by deputy talent I think it's telling that you have an -- that's willing to testify on his past. And end. Given your story evidence of danger of happening and it just got unconscionable. So. In public at a very calming and then you know at in about. There accounts sort of had to -- to put guilty. Simply get out. Oh PP. And he actually in late mentioned that in his complaint -- The federal consent decree is saying. Not not to be flippant but the words OPP union clean -- what has been achieved since. -- I I don't know I think it's I think this sheriff's department has always been very secretive about what it does. -- think it's. You know -- look at it. That does the sheriff's department tell you that or urged Britain as they displayed enormous -- -- lighter note are committed and there. But. Obviously I think the government to keep it that some honor and their air force and make changes. But they should be making changes. It's personal and allowed it to this level but. They're at least fortunate. And innate need to make quick. Brian. You've had some concerns about some of the things that have been says that did you want to dispel I'm not sure that you abandoned your post before completing your shift. Well that is absolutely false I did not abandon post frankly on the day that they claim that I've walked in and went to work and then. Left prior to completing that watch. I was not there Angela that was the same day that the warden of the building had restricted me. From coming to work verbally he told me do not come until you go CS of the actions contributed to. The right I mean that was a statement that was given publicly and published in the paper that I released the inmate to attack. The victim. And that is in fact not true although I was simply doing was following the protocol the longstanding protocol at that time of how those inmates. Which feed -- Now while they would say that this was an unusual. Action for me to take is beyond me because it's absolutely not true. You provided all the information on. Your application for. Well I can imagine that's the application that they're referring to and I do believe that is probably stemming from the fact that they could not locate me they could not. Arrest me or detain me in the fashion that they want -- to an audit to execute their plan in my opinion of intimidation. Right. But everything on my application was factual things did change my. Residents did change. The department was notified through its usual channels and processes are my change of Majerus. It is not my fault if they did not duly record it but I showed up every day for work. Its interest in -- that is when it comes to work. That though it was not their intent wants to gain their intent was to intimidate me. -- -- -- -- They told him not to return to work until -- spoke with a date. Passerby would never interviewed. And I'll expect operations of investigative branch. And again and and and -- They publicly stated that he is under investigation from cellphone which took the pictures. That -- shell. That's what their state and investigation for it and we offered. And continued -- to cooperate in any internal investigation. That's all they refused to go forward because. It's gonna -- you know aggregate of good things. And he has not been. They haven't complained there are actually. Investigating. The allegation came back in made. In regard to abandon his post investigate why it in their investigation. It's been different if he truly violent protocol. Widened their investigation. And it simply because their station the current state north fractured now. Except that they throughout your prime time. And stay with this will be. Brian Collins. Has had quite an experience. And you have officially resigns but you have concerns now that your literally being -- Yes side did officially design resign Angela and yes I do have legitimate reason to believe that. You know that I ambiance of -- and I cannot. And I wish there today office well I would not say definitely that that is by the sheriff's office but there's been. Some very peculiar. Incidents that have occurred. Subsequent to a statement he made about surveilling in an agency -- -- We're gonna talk to again Brian Collins thank you very much for joining us here and thankfully. Now let's go to -- names in the newsroom.

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