Are New Orleans police officers considered real cops? I suppose when you have thugs police themselves, the NOPD (New Orleans Police Department) is what you get. Ironically, two of the NO’s finest were arrested on Sunday… in separate incidents! Both of the officers, Brandon Scruggs and Tonishia Goodwin, drove an unmarked police car drunk and crashed while off duty. In one of the incidents, a motorcyclist was struck and seriously injured. One officer was booked with a DWI and was cited for following too close. The other was booked with reckless operation of a vehicle and a felony charge of first-degree vehicular negligent injuring.
33-year-old Scruggs was booked on charges of first-degree vehicular negligent injuring and reckless operation of a vehicle. While in the unmarked patrol car drunk, Scruggs reportedly ran a red light before striking the motorcyclist. The motorcyclist was struck as Scruggs crossed eastbound on Robert E. Lee Boulevard and Elysian Fields Avenue.
According to NOLA:
Louisiana’s first-degree vehicular negligent injuring law applies when “serious bodily injury” is caused by another person’s operation of a vehicle while legally drunk or otherwise under the influence. The law defines serious bodily injury as involving “unconsciousness, extreme physical pain or protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ or a mental faculty, or a substantial risk of death.”
He was being held at the Orleans Justice Center jail until posting bond Monday. Jail records do not show how much his bond was but it does reveal that bond was set by Orleans Criminal District Judge Franz Zibilich.
Scruggs is listed as a senior officer with the NOPD and first joined the department in 2010. Reports do not indicate why there was a lapse in his employment with the department but it does show he was rehired by the department in 2014. He is assigned to the child abuse unit in the special victim’s section, said Gary Scheets, a spokesman for the department.
Goodwin, 32, was booked on charges of DWI and following too close. The New Orleans police officer also held the rank of senior police officer. She joined the NOPD in 2009.
Investigators were called early Sunday afternoon to the crash involving Goodwin. The crash occurred in the Central Business District near the intersection of Rampart and Girod streets. The officer reportedly struck the back of another vehicle. Unlike Scruggs’ case, no injuries were reported. Goodwin was over the legal blood alcohol limit according to a sobriety test that was administered. She was released from jail midday Monday but no bond amount was immediately available.
The NOPD has not said why the officers were in the unmarked cars. According to their policy take-home vehicles are to drive to and from on-duty shifts, for approved off-duty detail jobs and “for limited personal use.” Limited personal use is defined as errands outside the scope of city business, if they’re conducted to or from an on-duty assignment “without significant deviation.” Use of the take-home vehicle off duty is not covered under the city insurance policy.
Both New Orleans police officers have been placed on emergency leave.