Criminal Justice

Another Orleans Parish deputy arrested in a domestic-dispute case; sheriff remains mum

By Matt Davis, The Lens staff writer |

A jailhouse sergeant at the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office was booked in Jefferson Parish with domestic abuse battery and aggravated assault 10 days ago, records show, and a co-worker at the Orleans Parish Prison said the sergeant hasn’t been to work since.

Sgt. William Holmes was arrested at his home April 9 after his wife called 911 and later told police that he threatened her with a handgun in front of their three small children.

William Holmes and his wife, June Holmes, were booked on domestic abuse and assault charges.

But Holmes told the Jefferson deputy who responded that his wife, June Holmes, was the aggressor. Both were listed as victims and suspects on the resulting report.

This incident, called in to a reporter by a tipster, comes to light four days after The Lens reported that another Orleans Parish deputy was arrested –  while working at the jail – after allegedly punching his ex-girlfriend in the face earlier in the day when she refused to discuss rumors that he had been having sex with male inmates.

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman refused to comment on either incident, and he didn’t comply with a request for his policy regarding the arrest of his deputies.

[Update, 4/20/11:] The more information the public has in these situations, the better, Susan Hutson, the city’s Independent Police Monitor said. While her job is to monitor the New Orleans Police Department and not to monitor Gusman’s office, she did speak in general terms about situations where law enforcement officers are arrested.

“To me, the more information the public has about its departments, the sheriff, police, the bridge police, the better, and I’m definitely in favor of that,” Hutson said.

[Original post]:

A deputy on duty at the House of Detention said Tuesday that Holmes has not been back at work since his arrest.

Holmes and his wife offered differing accounts of a domestic dispute at their home to Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Blandford, who arrived on the scene after separate phone calls from the couple.

In his report, Blandford said June Holmes described her husband calling her “vulgar names” and then pointing a handgun at her. She locked herself in the bathroom, but her husband kicked down the door, grabbed her by the back of the neck and ripped off her wig, she told Blandford. June Holmes then said she defended herself by dousing her husband with pepper spray, the report says.

She said her husband then ran out and hid his gun in his truck, according to the report.

William Holmes told the investigator that his wife threatened him with a kitchen knife during a verbal argument and pepper sprayed him in the face without provocation, the report says. Holmes denied kicking in the bathroom door and denied having a gun during the altercation.

Blandford’s report says he saw a “large black foot print on the outside” of the bathroom door.

Holmes and his wife were booked on the same charges, and they will appear at separate status hearings on May 24.

Holmes and his wife did not answer the door at their home today.

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  • menum

    I sure hope that Ms. Hutson continues to encourage the Sheriff to be more forthcoming with information. He is allowed to run the Sheriff’s Department and jail with little oversight.

  • Tracie Washington

    Tell me why this is a public interest news story vs. gossip about 2 individual deputies who appear to be spousal abusers? Did Sheriff Gusman abuse these women? Did Sheriff Gusman encourage the deputies to abuse these women? What exactly is your point Matt?

  • The Editor

    Dear Ms. Washington:

    It’s newsworthy when a law-enforcement officer is arrested and booked with a crime. It’s also of public interest to know whether the sheriff has a policy of disclosing when his deputies are booked with crimes.

    These are two instances that we were tipped about. Are there more? That would be easier to determine if the sheriff had a policy of openness and transparency. It’s unfortunate that he’s not even open enough to tell us whether he has a policy of such openness. I guess that speaks for itself.

    The public should also know whether the officers accused of physical violence are still in a position to come in contact with inmates, or whether they’ve been reassigned to other positions, pending the outcome of the case. The sheriff’s silence on the matter should also be a matter of public interest.

    If officers don’t feel the need to follow the law, I judge that to be a matter of public interest.

    Best regards,
    Steve Beatty,
    Managing editor, The Lens

  • Tracie Washington

    Interesting. None of those questions were raised in your “investigative journalism” article. Instead you chose to write a gossip piece. Pitiful.

    Now, concerning your writer’s decision to pepper the public sector with public records request concerning my “relationships” with public officials and/or agencies — again, pitiful. Seriously, all black people in the city don’t know each other, but I won’t stop you guys from asking around.

  • Isaac

    Is this Tracie Washington the same ‘transparency freedom fighter’ that attempted to undermine other journalist’s efforts in Austin when she served as attorney for their city’s Metro agency? Before she was fired/forced to resign?

    Same dog, old tricks…

  • Justice for OPP/HOD inmates

    Marlin Gusman is a modern day Pharaoh.

    This article, damning as it is, doesn’t even provide the full magnitude of the horrors OPP/HOD inmates experience every single day.

    Gusman–and the entire Orleans sheriff’s office–need more scrutiny, not less.

    So, why is the so-called “civil rights” leader Tracie Washington defending Mr. Gusman and, worse, deflecting criticism of Gusman/the Orleans Sheriff with race-baiting language directed at the Lens?

    Speaking of “black people,” Tracie, do you know how many black people suffer at the hands of Gusman and his corrupt and brutal cadre of deputies? Do you care?

  • Cristy Miceli Richmond

    Dear Tracie Washington:

    It is news.