COVINGTON, La. -- The brother of St Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter Reed flashed a DA's office badge Sunday night to try and keep a 'very intoxicated' woman out of trouble, according to Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz.
The incident began at the Chimes restaurant in Covington, where police say they were called to respond to reports that a woman had become belligerent and had to be physically removed from the restaurant. According to police, witnesses told them Reed's brother, Richard, helped the woman out of the restaurant and put her in his grey Honda Accord, pulling out of the parking lot as police arrived.
Police say they pulled over the Accord in the parking lot of the Big Lots store on Hwy 190 in Covington, across the street from the Chimes. Richard Reed was driving.
Officers said Reed 'produced a wallet badge from the district attorney's office' to try and keep the girl from getting arrested. Lentz said officers ignored the badge and removed her from the vehicle. Once getting her back to the Covington Police station, officers called an ambulance to check on her because she was 'extremely, extremely' intoxicated.
The staff at the Chimes didn't want to press charges against the woman, but Lentz said his officers determined that she should be issued a citation for public intoxication.
Covington Police did not investigate Richard Reed for any wrongdoing. Lentz did say it is uncommon for one of his officers to encounter a DA's office badge these days.
A spokesman for Walter Reed said the badge was an honorary badge that Richard had been given many years ago. Richard Reed returned his honorary badge after this past weekend.
'Three decades ago, after winning his first election, Mr. Reed handed out a few honorary badges as a keepsake. To our knowledge, there has not been any incidents regarding these honorary badges. The badges are strictly honorary and carry no weight of the law behind them. Thirty years later, Mr. Reed does not recall who received the badges,' said Reed's spokesman Morgan Stewart in a written statement.
Stewart said he believed that the other honorary badge recipients have been asked by Walter Reed to return them to the DA's office in recent days, but he couldn't say who all had them.
Richard Reed recently resigned from his position at St Tammany Parish hospital after questions from the media about whether he was getting special treatment because his brother, Walter Reed, worked with the hospital's governing board. He also works at a St Tammany funeral home.
Richard had been working full-time as a mail room clerk and for other departments, according to a hospital spokesperson. His predecessor only held the mail room position part-time, something revealed in a recent Eyewitness Investigation.
Walter Reed also resigned his position as special counsel to the hospital board after questions about whether Reed was supposed to be getting paid in his personal capacity as an attorney, or whether the hospital had a contract with the St Tammany DA's office. The hospital released documents showing resolutions passed that established the relationship with the DA's office, not Reed personally.
A spokesman hired by Reed then countered that Reed believed he was hired in his capacity as a private attorney in a verbal agreement with a now-deceased hospital board chairman.
This story was developed with our partners at the New Orleans Advocate. You can read more in tomorrow morning's edition of the newspaper.