East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutors have formally charged a former Baton Rouge Police Department officer with falsifying misdemeanor summonses.
Derek Jason Burns, 29, was arrested Sept. 6 and fired Nov. 9. He had been with the Police Department for six years and worked in the prisoner processing unit.
Prosecutors filed a bill of information Monday charging Burns with first-degree injuring of public records and malfeasance in office. Both offenses are felonies that carry up to five years in prison.
“Derek says he’s done nothing wrong,” Burns’ attorney, Carl Babin, said Wednesday.
Police administrators have declined to speculate why Burns allegedly wrote the bogus summonses.
Officers are often paid overtime to appear in court for the summonses that they write.
Police Chief Dewayne White has said investigators with the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division launched an investigation into Burns on July 3 after the officer’s supervisor noticed a summons Burns wrote that “just didn’t look right.”
Burns, 11756 N. Englewood Drive, is accused of falsifying several misdemeanor summonses, Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a police spokesman, has said.
Burns issued four false summonses between June 6 and 26 to three people without their knowledge, according to an arrest warrant. The police officer forged the victims’ signatures on the summonses, the warrant says.
The victims told investigators they had never come into contact with Burns and never signed the misdemeanor summonses, the warrant states.
The summonses were sent to a certified forensic document examiner, who concluded all four signatures were written by Burns, the warrant says.
The people whose forged names were on the bad summonses had lengthy criminal histories, White has said.
During the Police Department’s subsequent investigation, investigators found that Burns falsified another misdemeanor summons March 21, a warrant states.
The case has been assigned to state District Judge Chip Moore.