Mysterious ‘Debbie’ corroborates claim Dartez failed to act
The woman who is a material witness in the ongoing investigation of Lafayette Police Maj. Glen Dartez, first identified by The Independent Weekly in last week’s cover story and known at the time only as Debbie, was interviewed Friday by KLFY TV10’s Chuck Huebner. In the exclusive TV interview, Debbie Richard confirmed that on June 11 Dartez turned down William Phillips Jr.’s request to help his girlfriend, Montie Martie, who died the following day. Though he had been fighting with her on the afternoon of June 11, Phillips has maintained that he tried to help Martie, whom he thought had slipped into a diabetic coma.
Dartez’s phone records, obtained by The Independent Weekly, reveal that he placed four phone calls from his cell phone to Richard's cell phone number on June 11, the first at 8:13 p.m. and the last at 11:09 p.m.
Richard told the TV station Dartez arrived at 202 Wilcox St., where Phillips lived with his girlfriend, Montie Martie, between 9 and 9:30 p.m. She said Phillips spotted Dartez’s unmarked police vehicle and asked the 34-year veteran if he were a police officer. When Dartez confirmed that he was but said he was off-duty, she says Phillips told him, “My girl is sick” and asked for help. She remembers Phillips mentioning something about Martie having diabetes and asking Dartez to call an ambulance. Dartez, according to Richard, told Phillips to leave him alone. “Maj. Dartez just told him to go away and didn’t even respond to helping him,” she told Huebner.
Richard, who claims Dartez is just a friend she has been knowing for a long time, says the veteran police officer was on the scene trying to convince her to leave with him. “I think he had kind of started liking me, but like I told him I don’t want a relationship with him,” she told the station. “He’s claimed things that I’m his girlfriend, but I don’t want to be his girlfriend.”
Dartez’s final call to Richard that night was placed at 11:09 p.m., about 20 minutes before the affidavit for William Phillips Jr.’s arrest indicates he called Acadian Ambulance for help, claiming a diabetic emergency. Phillips and Martie had several physical altercations the afternoon of June 11, and she died the following day of blunt force trauma to the head. Phillips is charged with second degree murder.
The Independent Weekly was unable to reach Richard on her cell phone. What the phone records from the Lafayette Police Department also reveal is that Dartez called Richard back on her cell phone the following Monday, June 14, and she returned the cell phone call, two days after Montie Martie died. Police phone records also reveal that Dartez tried to reach Richard from his office phone four times that Monday; the two appear to have talked on his office phone only once on the 14th. Those phone calls further bring into question whether Dartez compromised the police department’s murder investigation — and leave unanswered if his friends in the department were complicit in his actions.
Though Martie died on June 12, an internal affairs investigation into Dartez’s presence on the scene and potential role in the subsequent murder investigation was not ordered by Police Chief Jim Craft until two months later. Since that time, the Louisiana State Police has launched its own investigation, which will be independent of the IA inquiry, and Craft has turned over the results of the IA investigation to District Attorney Mike Harson for further investigation and potential criminal charges.
Inexplicably, 57-year-old Dartez, who was in charge of the department’s criminal investigations division, was not placed on administrative leave until last week and is expected to announce his retirement shortly. He is one of only three majors in the department, making him among the three highest ranking officials under the chief.
Whether on or off duty, police officers are obligated to respond, and failure to do so constitutes a departmental violation and criminal offense under the malfeasance in office statute. Investigation into the latter offense is the reason the matter was turned over to DA Mike Harson, according to Craft. Malfeasance in office, or official misconduct, is the commission of an unlawful act, done in an official capacity, which affects the performance of official duties.
MAY 23 Here's a story in the Picayune about some statistics that must come as a blow to folks who believe that any private school can do a better job of educating kids than any public school: Danielle Dreilinger reports that only 30 percent of the voucher kids are passing. That's less than half of the state wide average, she says. It's an interesting statistic because most of the schools (if not all) taking voucher kids have never had their students' standardized test scores released to the public before.
MAY 23 Stephen Sabludowsky blogs on Bayou Buzz about auditor requests here. Recently the state GOP started crowing about a request from the Legislative Auditor, claiming they were being targeted because of their anti-tax stance. (Uh, your what?) Denial and hyperbole aside, the state Democratic party blew holes in that theory with an email announcing they'd received the same request, Sabludowsky writes here.
MAY 23 Jim Brown blogs about the senate race in this post. He says that, given Bobby Jindal's "lack of traction" on the national stage, it might make more sense for the governor to consider running against Mary Landrieu for the senate seat. Since Tim Teeple left the Cassidy team, it makes sense he might land on a Jindal for Senate team, Brown opines.
MAY 23 In this Louisiana Voice post, blogger Tom Aswell writes of rumors that his nemesis, state Superintendent of Education John White, may be soon departing Louisiana for a federal post. It's hard to believe, given his performance, Aswell says, but stranger things have happened. An anti-White BESE member says that, if true, White is quitting before he can be fired.
MAY 23 In this post on American Zombie, blogger Jason Berry writes about the Mother's Day shooting. Mayor Landrieu said that "this is not who we are," but the fact is, this is New Orleans, Berry writes. The violence infused in the city is the result of a culture created by "sins of omission or sins of commission," Berry writes. It's not a problem that can be solved by legislating, policing, praying or publicizing, he says: Someone's got to understand what's happening first.
MAY 23 This post in the Westside Journal tells us what Port Allen Mayor Deedy has been up to lately: vetoing ordinances, apparently. This story is most interesting, however, when it delves into a petition that has been circulating around the city lately. It accuses the former mayor of a lot of nasty things; the former mayor says it is full of lies and "broken syntax" which may be a larger offense in his eyes.
MAY 23 This editorial posted in The Advocate is a bit confusing. The writing is poor - definitely not up to the usual editorial writing standard there - and the point is hard to grasp. Apparently, the writer is saying that privatization of state efforts is OK, as long as there is oversight and transparency, but Jindal's not good at that, and the legislature shouldn't over-react. Okey Dokey. Can't they get one of them Pulitzer-winning people to write an editorial?
MAY 23 This post on The Lens gives you links to a new Google Earth tool that allows you to see any spot on earth transform over the past 30 years. Bob Marshall, who covers the coast for the paper, says that in the case of Louisiana's coastline, it's possibly something you don't want to see, because it's not a pretty picture. There are several clips here, showing critical areas erode away. For Marshall, it was vindication for all those times he was met with eye-rolling when he talked about erosion.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.