Belden Batiste Files Complaint Against New Orleans Inspector General Edward Michel

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Community activist Belden Batiste filed a complaint with the New Orleans Ethics Review Board against New Orleans Inspector General Edward Michel for allegedly threatening Batiste with arrest by federal authorities.

In a January 17, 2024 letter to ethics board attorney Dane Ciolino, Batiste said the treat came during a heated conversation outside the City Council Chambers. “He (Michel) said he had federal marshals and the FBI looking into me and that he would have me arrested,” Batiste explained. According to Michel’s bio on the OIG’s website, Michel worked previously for the U. S. Department of Justice but was never a member of the FBI or served as a US Marshal.

Michel and Batiste had been at odds regarding the mysterious leak of a thumb drive which contained files from the much maligned investigation of Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s Executive Security officer Jeffrey Vappie by the NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau.

Batiste had responded to a subpoena from Michel but was unable to supply the OIG’s office with the information they sought. Another non-governmental person of interest was also subpoenaed but chose to avail himself of his 5th Amendment rights and was released from the subpoena by a judge.

Batiste said he was surprised by Michel’s tone and choice of words and felt obligated to report Michel’s unusual and inappropriate behavior to the FBI’s Threat Division.

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