NEW ORLEANS - A New Orleans police officer who resigned as he was about to be fired after posting inflammatory comments online is asking to change his departure status from “resigned while under investigation” to a simple resignation.
Jason Giroir, who sparked a firestorm of controversy when he made comments about the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida, is awaiting a ruling from the Civil Service Commission after his attorney presented arguments Monday.
Attorney Eric Hessler said he negotiated the resignation – without any official red flags attached – one day after Giroir was suspended without pay. Giroir resigned hours after he found out that a host of administrative violations had been upheld against him.
“I wouldn’t have negotiated for six hours to have him resign under investigation,” said Hessler, an attorney for the Police Association of New Orleans.
The official designation of Giroir’s resignation is important if he wants to try to work again in law enforcement. Most police departments will not hire officers who resigned under investigation from another police force.
Giroir admitted posting comments on WWL-TV.com amid intense national news coverage of Martin by neighborhood watch patrolman George Zimmerman, who now awaits trial for second-degree murder.
“Act like a Thug Die like one!” was one of the comments Giroir wrote from his Facebook page under his own name. As soon as the comments surfaced in March, Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas issued a swift response.
"To say that I'm angry is an understatement," Serpas said at the time. "Let me be clear: the hardworking men and women of the NOPD do not condone such statements."
When he resigned, Giroir had already been re-assigned to desk duty for a previous investigation of the traffic stop that led to a fatal shootout which left Justin Sipp dead and two officers wounded on Mar. 1 in Mid-City. Giroir pulled over brothers Justin and Earl Sipp for a traffic violation on March 1, and a shootout erupted after two officers were called to the scene to back up Giroir.
Just four weeks after the shootout, a WWL.TV.com story about Martin's fatal shooting sparked several incendiary comments – including Giroir’s.
The NOPD has a policy on Internet posts, adopted several years ago, which states:
“Employees shall not post any material on the Internet -- including but not limited to photos, videos, word documents etc. -- that violates any local, state or federal law and/or embarrasses , humiliates, discredits, or harms the operation and reputation of the police department or any of its members.”