Mayor Cantrell admits she refused to give a statement during the PIB investigation

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 11:14 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 8:27 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Mayor LaToya Cantrell admits she refused to give a statement to the NOPD in the investigation of one of her executive protection team members.

Some say the mayor’s refusal to answer questions in the investigation will only make it incomplete.

Mayor Cantrell publically defends officer Jeffrey Vappie, a former member of her executive protection team, but says she stands behind an investigation into his actions.

“PIB was advancing the investigation on behalf of the New Orleans Police Department. I was asked to participate or if I was going to do an interview, and I chose not to,” said Mayor Cantrell. “Because I am the mayor of the City of New Orleans and the investigation was on practices relative to my executive protection team and one that could be handled very well by PIB.”

Former NOPD Supt. Ronal Serpas says without the mayor’s cooperation; there’s no way to know if Vappie’s explanations are true about who approved his overtime hours and what he was doing on the clock.

Mayor Cantrell says she fully supports PIB’s investigation but has previously called it a witch hunt.

Fox 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti says it’s clear a third party should be conducting this investigation..

“If it’s another agency, you don’t get to say, I’m not going to participate. You have the right to invoke your fifth amendment rights possibly, but you don’t get to just say, I’m not talking.”


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Mayor Cantrell also says PIB’s investigation of Vappie is nearly complete but didn’t say exactly how she knew that to be true.

Meanwhile, there’s a call from city councilman JP Morrell for the inspector general to investigate how the city attorney was able to possess audio recordings of PIB’s internal investigation and then inadvertently leak those tapes to the public.

Cantrell told Fox 8 steps were taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

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