The recent news about Chief Rickey Boudreaux’s resignation was the result of an investigation by public record, which can sometimes be challenging. After all, not many people are willing to put their misdeeds into a public document. If impropriety is found in a public record it often makes it there by mistake or is documented by someone not involved in the act. While the explanation or excuse for something contained in a public record may change over time, the content never does. Public records are permanent and self-authenticating. In short, public corruption isn’t often well documented, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen
“In the sphere of economics an action, a habit, an institution, or a law engenders not just one effect but a series of effects. Of these effects only the first is immediate; it is revealed simultaneously with its cause, it is seen. The others merely occur successively, they are not seen; we are lucky if we foresee them.”
But Bastiat’s logic doesn’t just apply to economics. It can be globally applied to any action which has both foreseen and unforeseen results. The logic can be applied to the immediate and long-term effects of a bad diet, that which we experience immediately and that which we regret twenty years later. It may be suitably applied to decisions we make about a career choice or even decisions we make within our desired field of employment. But there is no escaping the fact that what we do ripples outwardly with both foreseen and unforeseen effects. Just ask Megan Wyatt, whose reporting awakened many and started a tidal wave of concern. Or ask the many police officers with the City of Youngsville who courageously came forward with information that was being suppressed.
It all started with a tip
As with any hot topic we, at Citizens for a New Louisiana, are constantly bombarded with tips. That tip often results in a search for public records which will substantiate or at a minimum lead credence that the information provided is, in fact, correct or likely to be correct. Here’s one example. Over Mother’s Day weekend of this year, an official for the City of Youngsville and other accomplices were observed entering onto private property and “claiming” construction materials. Their stated purpose was building a cabin. The materials were loaded onto a trailer owned by the City and assigned to the Youngsville Sports Complex. The tip further alleged that police personnel were dispatched to investigate the matter.
Well, if this was occurring there could be a variety of records to substantiate the allegations. Vehicle / equipment logs? Police reports? Dispatch records? Body camera footage? But that was not the case. In response to a June 7, 2023 public records request asking for “any records documenting the use, whether authorized or unauthorized, of any ‘utility trailers’ owned by the City of Youngsville and/or assigned to the Youngsville Sports Complex during the period of May 12, 2023 and May 15, 2023” we were provided with a vehicle log for a 2019 Dodge Ram which contained a single entry. That response didn’t seem to match the information provided, but that was just one possible area to look. The other direction would be any record from the police department.
From the police department, we sought “records of any calls for service pertaining to alleged ‘dumpster diving’ activities occurring during the period of May 12, 2023 and May 15, 2023 in or around the Sugar Mill Pond neighborhood.” Also, “Records of any calls for service occurring during the period of May 12, 2023 and May 15, 2023 in which Ricky Boudreaux (Chief) was identified as a suspect or was present at the scene upon the arrival of responding officers.” That public records request was sent on June 7, 2023. Boudreaux did not respond, which is not unusual.
In a June 14, 2023, response from the City Attorney we were told “a search was performed and there are no documents responsive to this request.” Did we really expect to receive any records responsive? We were hopeful, but the chances were not likely. Even if the officers had created a record, which was doubtful with the mounting concerns of harassment and retaliation within the department, the chances of Rickey Boudreaux providing it seemed unlikely. After all, Boudreaux has not only been non-complaint with adequately and promptly responding to public records requests, he has also treated responses to Subpoena Duces Tecum’s from the Civil Service Board in a similar fashion.
It is true?
The absence of a record doesn’t mean that something did not occur. It just means a police officer under the supervision of Chief Rickey Boudreaux didn’t document an encounter which allegedly occurred on private property Mother’s Day weekend. Why is that? We can only speculate. But wouldn’t it be interesting to know what happened that evening? Was Boudreaux under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Who were the individuals with him? Were they also under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Did they really tell the officer they were collecting wood to build a cabin? Did they use the City equipment and resources to rummage through dumpsters? Could the record clear Rickey Boudreaux?
Perhaps the record could show the individuals encountered that evening didn’t include Boudreaux. Could it have narrowed the date / time frame of when the incident happened to exclude Boudreaux from involvement? Or perhaps it would show that it was in fact Chief Rickey Boudreaux, but he was there for different reasons. Perhaps he was looking for the IA investigative records involving Lt. Lloyd Henry, which he claimed he lost and was unable to produce in response to a subpoena from the Youngsville Civil Service Board. Or maybe he was looking for records in response to our public records request which have still not been answered.
Chief Rickey Boudreaux Resigns
On July 26, 2023, Citizens for a New Louisiana partnered with the Professional Association of Law Enforcement Officers. Together, we filed a nineteen (19) page complaint with the Youngsville Municipal Police Civil Service Board. In that complaint we focus on a variety of topics which would be too lengthy to recapitulate here. Instead here is a link the complaint itself.
The basis of the complaint arose from a collaborative research effort by both organizations which focused on broader policy issues within the Police Department, unlike the proposed City Council investigation which focused solely on the Chief. The Council investigation is yet to be initiated and many folks around town are concerned that it never will. However, Civil Service works a little differently. Pursuant to LARS 33:2537 “upon the written petition of any citizen for just cause” the Civil Service Board is required to investigate and the Board has broad powers to act in the “public interest.” The Board voted unanimously to take up our complaint.
Then on August 3, 2023, Citizens for a New Louisiana and the Professional Association of Law Enforcement Officers filed a four page supplemental complaint with the Youngsville Municipal Police Civil Service Board. Days later, on August 9, 2023, Rickey Boudreaux scheduled a meeting announcing his retirement on August 20, 2023.
What’s next for Rickey Boudreaux?
We may never know what Rickey Boudreaux was looking for that night. Was it wood to build a cabin? Or was it was his prepared resignation speech he read to members of the Police Department and media. Regardless, it is these sorts of stories that come to us and demand attention. If one good thing comes of the mess that transpired in the City of Youngsville these last several months it may be this. After many decades, Thibodeaux may finally get a reprieve. Instead of Boudreaux and Thibodeaux jokes we might start telling Boudreaux and Boudreaux jokes. Comedy hour with Kenneth Boudreaux, co-hosted by Rickey Boudreaux is sure to be riot, fam!