JPSO deputies performed video of policeman candidate’s coffee emporium meeting

Interim Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto reliable that he has non-stop an inner review into a actions of 3 deputies who performed notice video from an Elmwood coffee emporium where his sheriff’s competition opponent, late Col. John Fortunato, was assembly with other former co-workers.

Lopinto on Wednesday (Jan. 10) declined to brand a 3 deputies. Lopinto pronounced he did not know about a occurrence until about a month ago when his bureau perceived a open annals ask about a video from a inner news outlet.

“I did not approach anybody to go and get any video,” Lopinto said.

But Fortunato pronounced he believes Lopinto was wakeful of his assembly and a efforts to collect a video.

“I would doubt a halt policeman as to what was his justification for permitting members of a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office to use a manpower and resources of a bureau to examine a 3 of us, for what crime?” he said.

Lopinto and Fortunato, along with third claimant Anthony Blount, have purebred for the March 24 choosing to fill a unexpired tenure of former Sheriff Newell Normand. Normand suddenly late on Aug. 31 to start a career in speak radio.

Fortunato is a 46-year maestro of a dialect who was a questioner before portion as a open information officer underneath Normand and prior Sheriff Harry Lee. Lopinto worked 8 years with a dialect before he warranted a law grade and won a chair in a state House of Representatives. Lopinto returned to a Sheriff’s Office in 2016 as an profession and was allocated arch emissary in 2017.

The meet-up in doubt occurred during a PJ’s Coffee, 5359 Mounes St., Elmwood, someday in October, Fortunato said. He was chatting with late Chief Deputies Walter Gorman and John Thevenot about a operation of subjects from a dialect to family and football.

“I would never pass adult an event to lay down with my former colleagues to speak about things that regard me and a organization,” Fortunato said.

In a days following a meeting, Fortunato schooled that deputies, including members of a crime stage unit’s digital debate team, went to a coffee emporium to obtain a business’ notice video of a meeting.

“What’s so wrong with 3 associate co-workers carrying a crater of coffee? What’s a justification behind any of this? Who is a halt policeman to follow me around?” Fortunato asked.

Lopinto pronounced one of a deputies was a personal crony of a coffee shop’s owners and asked for a video. The owner, according to Lopinto, had no problem with branch it over.

A write call requesting criticism from a business’ owners was not returned.

The additional deputies from a digital forensics section came over to assistance a deputy, according to Lopinto.

“He attempted to download it. He couldn’t download it. He picked adult a phone and said, ‘How do we download it?’ They took a float over and pulled it,” Lopinto said.

The dialect is doubt to make certain a deputies did not violate any policies.

Though a examine has not nonetheless been completed, Sheriff’s Office crew interviewed a coffee emporium owner, who pronounced a ask wasn’t done in an central capacity, according to Lopinto.

“They were doing it from a domestic nature, not a policing nature,” he said, adding that a deputies went there since they were perplexing to assistance him.

Lopinto pronounced he has never asked any Sheriff’s Office staffers to debate for him, on or off-duty, and called it unacceptable.

“I done it really transparent that it’s not going to be function again,” Lopinto said.

He discharged a thought that he was behind a bid to performed a video.

“This isn’t an emanate of me perplexing to find out information. What am we going to benefit by that? Nothing,” Lopinto said.

The coffee emporium liaison shows a competition for Jefferson Parish Sheriff had already turn quarrelsome good before qualifying, with both sides aggressive a value of a other’s knowledge to run a department.  

The whole event recalls a Royal Blend “brewhaha” that arose in 2015 during a Louisiana governor’s competition when Normand – a believer of then-gubernatorial claimant John Bel Edwards– held a private questioner in a occupy of Edwards’ opponent, David Vitter, personally videotaping his morning meet-up with friends during a Old Metairie coffee shop.

The purported spy, Robert Frenzel, was arrested and requisitioned with rapist mischief, though a Jefferson Parish district attorney’s bureau refused a charges since of deficient evidence.

Meanwhile, Lopinto is doubt how Fortunato got his hands on a home addresses of a Sheriff’s Office’s 1,500 employees. The addresses were used to send out a mailer over a holidays.

“It’s not open record. We don’t recover home addresses for anybody,” pronounced Lopinto, who indicted Fortunato of hidden a list.

But Fortunato explained that he already had a hit information on hand.

“As a commander of a open information bureau and executive of all special events for a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office who handles many of a inner and outmost communications, we would intermittently refurbish my phone lists via a department,” pronounced Fortunato, who remarkable that Lopinto was perplexing to confuse from a coffee emporium investigation.

The latest coffee emporium scandal proves, Fortunato said, that a choosing is all about power, control and income for a folks who’ve been doing business as common in Jefferson Parish for a past 37 years.

“(Lopinto) can't continue to use a resources, a manpower and a apparatus of a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office for his possess domestic gain,” Fortunato said.