The Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office seems to be off the hook with the Louisiana Inspector General. The IG has stated the office didn’t break any laws when it acquired 8 fully automatic M-16 rifles but believes the office received the guns due to paperwork inaccuracies.
“Statements that were made in the justification in the application that he felt were not accurate,” DA Charles Scott said. He says his assistants Lea Hall and Hugo Holland filled out the paperwork. He signed it without properly reading it.
The Louisiana Office of State Inspector General says it has found no violations by the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office for obtaining 8 automatic weapons in April.
However, the letter sent to the DA’s Office does criticize the manner in which the request was made, pointing out that there were inaccuracies and false information in the request. The Inspector General advised the Caddo DA’s Office to consider appropriate measures to ensure the truthfulness and accuracy of all documents that leave the Caddo Parish DA’s Office in the future.
The state Inspector General has found the Caddo District Attorney’s Office submitted “false information” on paperwork when it acquired eight automatic weapons through a federal property clearinghouse.
In the ruling — outlined in a July 26 letter faxed Friday to District Attorney Charles Scott and after a nearly five-month investigation — Inspector General Stephen Street, Jr. also said the weapons were legally obtained. But, Street continued, Assistant District attorneys Lea Hall and Hugo Holland acknowledged a portion of the application they prepared in acquisitioning M16 rifles from the Louisiana Federal Property Assistance Agency contained “inaccuracies.”
That section included a justification statement that the office recently had staffed a Special Investigations Section and that district attorney personnel regularly participated in high-risk surveillance and arrests with the Shreveport Police Department and Caddo Sheriff’s office. The investigation showed that both law enforcement agencies disavowed that information, and that given the opportunity Hall and Holland each said they would “word the justification differently.”
Street’s letter caps a tumultuous few months since Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator asked for an investigation into the legality and circumstances surrounding the DA’s acquisition of the weapons, which were delivered to the Caddo District Courthouse on Feb. 27. In the aftermath of the discovery, Prator revoked sheriff commissions authorizing certain DA workers to carry a firearm and make arrests. The sheriff has since issued limited commissions, only allowing serving of court papers such as subpoenas, to seven DA workers, Prator said.
“False information given to get automatic weapons that are not needed is inappropriate,” said Prator when asked about his reaction to the Inspector General’s letter. “This finding justifies what I originally contended — that they (the DA’s office) don’t need them and they shouldn’t have them.”
Scott said his office cooperated fully with the Inspector General’s investigators. The DA’s office would work to ensure the truthfulness and accuracy of all documents that leave the office as requested by the Inspector General, Scott said.