BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA — A Baton Rouge police officer is accused of falsifying misdemeanor summonses.
Police Chief Dewayne White said Thursday that his department’s internal affairs division began investigating Derek Jason Burns, 29, on July 3 after his supervisor noticed a summons that “just didn’t look right.”
Investigators checked it and four more chosen at random and found that at least four appeared phony, White said. The fifth summons is still being examined.
Burns issued the four false summonses between June 6 and July 26 to three people without their knowledge, according to the arrest warrant. It said the victims told investigators they had never come into contact with Burns or signed the summonses, and a certified forensic document examiner concluded that Burns wrote all four signatures.
“The possibility is great” that Burns falsified additional summonses, White said.
“This investigation is in its infancy,” he said. “There’s a lot more work to do.”
White said he would ask U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. to investigate whether anyone’s civil rights were violated if investigators determine that Burns wrote additional phony summonses and the majority of the victims are black.
“We will continue to police our own,” White said. “When a police officer commits a crime we will take action and we will take it swiftly.”
The Advocate reported that (http://bit.ly/Snns9x) administrators wouldn’t speculate on why Burns allegedly wrote bogus summonses. However, officers often are paid overtime to appear in court for the summonses that they write.
Burns was booked into the parish prison Thursday on four counts each of injuring public records, forgery and malfeasance in office, and was released on $24,000 bond.
Burns, who joined the force in 2006 and is assigned to the prison transport division, is on paid administrative leave.