A New Orleans police officer has been placed on desk duty this week over allegations that he wrote a message in the blood of a murder victim at the scene of a crime, reports WWLTV.
Homicide detective Charles Hoffacker, whose parallel career as an artist reflecting life on the street was profiled on NPR, has been placed on desk duty and may not carry a weapon or work the street while authorities investigate the incident.
According to investigators, Hoffacker wrote the message in the coagulated blood on the street where the murder victim’s body was discovered, possibly compromising a criminal investigation.
Hoffacker’s attorney, Eric Hessler of the Police Association of New Orleans, explained that the case has been blown out of proportion and, while Hoffacker may have used poor judgement, he did nothing that is actionable.
Hessler also cited stress on the job as a contributing factor, saying that Hoffacker had just worked two double shifts during a Memorial Day weekend that saw four people killed and another 15 wounded.
“This was an isolated incident that happened during a very, very difficult time for New Orleans and for this officer also,” Hessler said. “And I’m hoping that the NOPD sees it that way and treats it that way.”
Hoffacker, who was an artist before he became a police officer, is known for using his experiences as a homicide detective to create gritty portraits of life on the streets of New Orleans. His online art gallery can be viewed here.
The New Orleans Police Department’s Public Integrity Bureau has 14 days to determine whether to classify the investigation as either criminal or administrative.
Watch the video below from WWLTV: