Officer Robin Ducote was given a 30 day suspension from the Baton Rouge Police Department. Several months ago, body-cam footage leaked of Ducote to WBRZ news showed officer Ducote on camera suggesting that officers lie on a police report in order to search a vehicle.
According to The Advocate, “Ducote and other officers responded to a call last October about two adults who appeared passed out in a vehicle with a small crying child attempting to wake them up, according to the letter dated June 13. The call came from the parking lot of a RaceTrac convenience store on Sherwood Forest Boulevard. Emergency Medical Services and fire crews arrived on scene before police and started rendering aid to the two adults, who were unresponsive. The caller later told Ducote he heard the child screaming in the vehicle when he parked and went inside the store, and then noticed the screaming hadn’t stopped when he came back out about 10 minutes later, according to the letter. That’s when he saw the adults passed out and called police.”
Officer Ducote said, the following on film: “Let’s search this truck,” Ducote said on the video. “So if we find something we say it was in plain view. Who gives a s***. We’re writing this report. “At the end of the day, we win, so I don’t care. We’re the good guys. We will take care of that later.”
Ducote also told one of the passengers in the vehicle after they were revived by EMS, ”Neither of y’all are in a position to drive. Y’all are f****** up. I don’t give a s*** where you’re from. You’re a mom, you know better.”
Some may consider the situation and say that the officer was upset, and concerned about the child in the car. That is an understandable position to take. The problem is, when you’re dealing with officers who have the ability to take away a person’s freedom, or worse their life, we cannot be okay with officers conspiring to falsify a report.
Chief Paul is attempting to discipline Ducote, but her actions should have brought her termination. For the following reasons.
- Loss of public trust. From this day forward any time this officer comes into a situation her character is in question. She has been caught on tape planning to lie on a police report, in order to accomplish her mission of arresting someone. Her words are very concerning. Ducote say’s “At the end of the day, we win, so I don’t care.” Suggesting that this is a game of some sort, to be won. Suggesting that as a police officer she wins and therefor she can say whatever she chooses on a report. How can the public trust anything she does moving forward? The reality is what most likely stopped her from lying, was having officers who didn’t go along with her actions. We cannot be certain this will be the outcome if Ducote encounters a situation alone with no witnesses.
- Lack of Professionalism. Officer Ducote used language that officers should not use when talking to citizens. I understand that people believe it is acceptable for officers to use profanity when speaking to citizens they engage. I do not believe it is acceptable. The officer is on the clock doing a job. If you went to Starbucks and your barista used this type of language when talking to a customer you would understand if the person was terminated. We have a serious problem with respect being the minimum from police. They offer a service to the community, funded by the community. They should not be allowed to speak to someone in an unprofessional manner because they have a tough job. Lawn service workers have a tough job. Pipe layers have a tough job. Construction workers have a tough job. Teachers have a tough job. There are a dozen other tough jobs I could list, and every single one of them we would expect people to conduct themselves professionally while on the clock. Ducote is entitled to feel like these people are the scum of the earth. It isn’t her job to tell them that.
- “She Doesn’t Give A Sh**.” The great poet Maya Angelou said, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them. The first time.” Officer Ducote has shown us clearly, and said out of her mouth she doesn’t give a sh**. In a city where we are attempting to rebuild the relationship between the community and police, we need officers who give a sh**. We need officers who believe in integrity and justice, and understand that the rule of law doesn’t permit them to impede on the rights of citizens in order to do their job.
I could list ten other reasons why she should be fired. I have shared these thoughts with the chief of police, and the mayor. Her continuing to be employed means, officers can plot to lie, as long as the camera isn’t on. Her continuing to keep her job says that she can lie, she just can’t get caught next time. She will be wiser to keep her mouth closed next time.
If we had video of the chief of police planning to lie on official documents, we would expect the mayor to terminate that chief. Public trust would be lost. That is just the reality of being caught planning to be dishonest. The job of a police officer or any public servant for that matter, requires a level of integrity. The minute the integrity of any public official is lost, we should evaluate if the public official should continue to do the job. We can’t be sure now, if a day comes where this officer ever has to use her weapon, that what she says is the truth. This is not because of anyone else, but because of her own words. Her words which are a window into how she thinks, and who she is. Robin Ducote can’t be trusted with a gun and a badge, because she has already shown she is willing to do whatever it takes to, “win”. Next time a good cop might not be there to passively discourage this bad one and someone may LOSE their life.