06/04/2013 01:03 PM by Ian Auzenne
The U. S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the appeal of several former and current Lafayette police officers who are questioning the decision of a judge to shut down a website critical of … Click to Read More and see additional updates
06/04/2013 01:03 PM by Ian Auzenne
The U. S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the appeal of several former and current Lafayette police officers who are questioning the decision of a judge to shut down a website critical of the Lafayette Police Department and Police Chief Jim Craft.
In September, U. S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna ordered the site realcopsvcraft.com be removed from the web. In the filing, the plaintiffs claim that the website was a form of "peaceful pamphleteering." They also state that Hanna's decision inacted "the most draconian impingement possible" on their First Amendment rights to free speech.
The circuit court will hear the case en banc (before all judges) on the morning of Tuesday, July 9 in New Orleans.
10/16/2012 07:11 PM by Erin Steuber
High ranking officers from the Lafayette Police Department and Consolidated Government, being sued by 15 former, and current, LPD officers were back in federal court. As you recall, the officers are suing the department and LCG alleging corruption, racial discrimination and physical threats. In court, both sides discussed why the case should,or should not, be dismissed.
The judge is recommending the case is not dismissed in its entirety. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna will be writing a recommendation that some of the officers' claims are dismissed, some of them continue to discovery and some of the defendants in the case be dismissed as well, most notably Parish-President Joey Durel.
"We consider that a victory today, especially because the defendants' wanted the whole thing dismissed," said one of the officer's attorney Royal Alexander.
Judge Hanna categorized some of the officers' complaints as "A big bowl of spaghetti being thrown at the wall. Some of its going to stick, some of its going to fall off." Attorney Michael Corey, who represents LPD Chief Jim Craft and LCG, stated in court he agreed with the judge's ruling, that some officers' claims should play out in court. Corey would not comment on camera.
"A number of the issues raised by the defendants will be mute once we get into discovery and start clarifying some of these issues," another attorney for the officer's Chris Alexander. "We're going to want to know who, what, when, where and how for everything these guys did while acting under the color of the law. Things that we believe detrimentally affected our plantiffs."
Judge Hanna also decided to stirke a number of the officers' allegations, citing their alleged scandalous nature. Hanna says there's no reason to describe the LPD as "fundamentally rotten to the core."
"We have probably 300-350 numbered paragraphs and we feel that we've successfully stated our allegations in all of the remaining paragraphs," said Royal.
Once again no final decision has been made. Judge Hanna only writing a recommendation. A final decision will be made by District Judge Richard Haik.
09/25/2012 11:40 AM by Erin Steuber
A federal judge is continuing the case of 15 former and current Lafayette Police officers suing 7 high ranking officers within the department and consolidated government. Both sides were scheduled in court September 25.
Judge Patrick Hanna continued the case until October 16. The defendants in the case, to include Police Chief Jim Craft and LCG, have until October 2 to file any new memos in regards new allegations filed September 21. Then the plaintiffs, 15 former and current LPD officers, have until October 9 to file any responses. At that point, Judge Hanna says the both sides are no longer allowed to file any responses.
The hearing on October 16 will discuss the original motion to dismiss the case filed earlier this month, as well as the new allegations and any responses filed.
09/21/2012 05:23 PM by Erin Steuber
New allegations and six new plaintiffs added to the ongoing federal lawsuit. That suit from, the now, 15 former and current Lafayette Police Officers against LPD and consolidated government. The officers continue alleging corruption, racial discrimination and and physical threats.
Chief Jim Craft and LCG were among the original defendants. Now, several other high ranking officers are being listed in the suit. The claim is they're creating a gang mentality to get rid of those officers who don't agree with them.
This newest complaint claims the high-ranking officers are covering up actions by some police officers, which may be against policy or even illegal. The suit also alleges a group of at least 14 officers, and members of LCG, are the root of the problem. The group, referred in the suit as "Stanley Craft", says both CAO Dee Stanley and Chief Craft created the organization to maintain control of the department, and ultimately maintain a hostile work environment. The crew, as they're called, allegedly "combines their authority and resources to ultimately terminate any targeted officer." That includes using tactics such as false testimonies and by strong-arming witnesses. Both sides will meet again September 25. They will be discussing a motion to dismiss the case and these newest allegations.
We reached out to the attorney for consolidated government who declined comment.
City-Parish President Joey Durel
CAO Dee Stanley
Chief Jim Craft
Lt. Jackie Alfred
Cpt. Ted Vincent
Maj. Randy Vincent
Lt. Levy Firmin
Ray Domingue (LCG Human Resources)
Lt. Dwayne Prejean
09/19/2012 05:03 PM by Erin Steuber
Two former Lafayette Police Officer are appealing their termination from the department. Scott Poiencot and Greg Cormier were fired from the department September 12. Both former officers have been involved in an on-going lawsuit against two of their LPD superiors and Lafayette Consolidated Government.
September 14 both sides met in federal court for the first time since the case was dismissed at the state level back in May. The judge decided to partially lift a gag order that was in effect for nearly two weeks, and partially grant a protective order in favor of the defendants, including Police Chief Jim Craft and LCG.
Since that gag order has been partially lifted, it's becoming clearer why the officers were fired. According to the appeals documents filed by Poiencot and Cormier, both were let go because of the internal affairs investigation that sparked the lawsuit in the very beginning.
The IA investigation, involving 15 officers, was trying to determine if the officers leaked documents to an attorney who was representing another police officer. The investigation was granted a 60 day extension in June, and has since been completed. Now, Poiencot and Cormier have been fired as a result.
Both men have filed appeals with the civil service board claiming their termination was done without good cause and violates their rights as officers. The date for the appeals has not been scheduled.
09/17/2012 06:52 PM by Erin Steuber
A gag order has been partially lifted in the federal court case involving nine past and present Lafayette Police Officers.
As we've been reporting, the group is suing their superiors and Lafayette Consolidated Government. Getting you up to speed, the nine officers asked for a restraining order against two of their superiors, including police Chief Jim Craft and and LCG. The restraining order was denied, and the case was dismissed in state district court in May. Then two weeks later, the officers filed a federal lawsuit alleging corruption, racial discrimination and and physical threats.
On September 14, both sides appeared in court. The case was in recess until September 17.
The defendants in the case filed a protective order claiming harrassment, citing the officers "abuse of the court system" by continuing to file lawsuits. Judge Hanna characterizing their submission as "overbroad."
In court, the defense again stating their fear of not getting a fair trial if the case goes before a jury because of the constant media attention. Chief Craft, and LCG CAO Dee Stanley, were called to the stand. Both explained their concerns with the website "realcopsvcraft.com," and repeatedly stated they feel the allegations being brought against them are completely unfounded. One of the plaintiff's in the case, Kane Marceaux, testified the website was created to get their side of the story out. The judge then called former LPD officer Regina Briscoe to the stand.
Over the weekend, ownership of the website (realcopsvcraft.com) was transferred to her. Briscoe testifies the group of officers decided the website needed to be under the name of someone who has not participated in the creation of any recordings.
Judge Hanna partially lifted the gag order that has been in effect for nearly two weeks, and ordered the website (realcopsvcraft.com) be taken down. During his ruling, the judge laying out specific restrictions dealing with both parties future interaction with the media. He says from here on out all parties will "play by the book." Both parties will be meeting in court again on September 25 for a motion to dismiss the case by the defense.
"We believe it was a fair decision that appropriately protects the rights of all parties, and have no complaints about it," said the Plaintiff's attorney Chris Alexander. "We believe we were able to prevail on a number of issues that were important to our clients. We feel that we're going to be able to operate under the constraints Judge Hanna outlined."
09/14/2012 05:56 PM by Chris Welty
The gag order a federal judge has placed on the parties involved in the lawsuit against the Lafayette Police Department and Lafayette Consolidated Government is still in effect.
Nine current and former Lafayette Police Officers who are suing their superiors and local government appeared in federal court today. As you recall, the officers asked for a restraining order against two of their superiors to include Police Chief Jim Craft and Lafayette Consolidated Government.
The restraining order was denied and the case was dismissed in May. Two weeks later the officers filed a federal suit still alleging corruption, racial discrimination and physical threats.
It was standing room only in the courtroom Friday as Federal Judge Patrick Hanna heard arguments on whether or not to deny a motion for a protective order. The defendants in the case argue the nine current and former officers' attorney is trying this case through the media and they fear if this does go before a jury they will not get a fair trial.
The plaintiffs' attorney Stephen Spring subpoenaed 15 witnesses to testify including Broussard Police Chief Brannon Decou and Sergeant David Anderson with State Police Troop I.
It's unclear what the two will testify about, but they were among the 15 people the plaintiffs want to hear from.
Former officers Scott Poiencot and Greg Cormier did testify Friday Both admitted to recording fellow officers and superiors without their consent but say they did not give those recordings to the media, only to their attorney.
Chief Craft, Dee Stanley and LCG want the gag order to stay in place hoping it will preserve the process of this case in order to get a fair trial.
Court is in recess until Monday morning, September 17 at 9:30.
09/13/2012 04:56 PM by Erin Steuber
September 14 nine current, and former, Lafayette police officers who are suing their superiors and local government will be in federal court. KATC has learned three of the officers are no longer working for the department as this week.
As you recall, the officers asked for a restraining order against two of their superiors, to include Police Chief Jim Craft, and Lafayette Consolidated Government. The restraining order was denied, and the case was dismissed in district court in May. Two weeks later, the officers filed a federal suit still alleging corruption, racial discrimination and physical threats
But why are the officers no longer working at LPD? There won't be any answers until after their federal court date. All of the officers involved, their attorneys, and the defendants, and their attorneys, in the case are cited in a gag order filed September 5.
The gag order was issued after the defendants, including the police chief and Consolidated Government, filed a protective order claiming harrassment, and citing the officers "abuse of the court system" by continuing to file lawsuits. According to a public records request made by KATC's Erin Steuber, the two officers who are no longer employed as of September 12 are Scott Poiencot and Greg Cormier. Both officers have been working for the department for more than 10 years. A third officer, Gabe Thompson, left the department September 11. All three officers have been listed in the suit since the beginning.
Again, no reasoning being given as to why. September 14 both sides will be in federal court for an evidentiary hearing. At that point, the gag order may be lifted. It will be the first time both sides are in court since the case was dismissed in district court in May.
08/03/2012 04:50 PM
Six schools in St. Landry Parish have been deemed "Academically Unacceptable" or "AUS." They are Creswell Elementary, North Elementary, South Street Elementary, South West Elementary, Washington Elementary, and Opelousas Junior High. Tonight at 5 and 6, Steven Albritton - KATC will tell you what administrators plan to do moving forward.
06/14/2012 05:12 PM by Erin Steuber
"We will continue to perform our duties with honesty and integrity in spite of this viciousness which has attempted to pervade our ranks. God bless this city and God bless the Lafayette Police Department," said Police Chief Jim Craft.
Craft said because of pending litigation he could not comment on specific claims related to the case.
Two lawsuits have been filed, last week one was filed in federal court. Allegations against LPD include corruption, crime statistic manipulation and harassment.
Chief Craft addressed the public, reassuring that Lafayette Police Department employees are continuing to faithfully protect and serve, despite recent allegations against him and the department. Chief Craft says most of the employees at the LPD lead private lives, attempting to stay out of the spotlight. Now, without warning, their names have been thrown into the public eye.
"Most in our department question how a police officer could do this to another, without regard for their well-being or the well-being of their families," said Craft.
He says it's been traumatic and devastating to both the officers and their families. Craft assures that "their selfish scheme" is not working and the employees of the department are professionals who will not let this detract from their jobs.
"Likewise, friends, relatives and citizens from across the community and beyond who have called, emailed and left countless messages voicing support of us. They are not buying into this sham either," Craft said.
The officer's attorney, Stephen Spring, says it's extraordinary that the chief would dismiss the claims of the ten current and former police officers.
Spring says "The only 'sham' is the method by which Chief James Craft and the Durel administration professes to be fair, impartial and just. All plaintiffs have the highest regard for the department and their fellow officers."
Craft says only time, patience and the judicial system will prove the allegations false.
06/14/2012 10:12 AM by Letitia Walker
Chief Jim Craft held a press conference today to address lawsuits filed against him and the police department. He says much media attention has been given to allegations made by a group of disgruntled employees, but because of the two lawsuits, he cannot comment specifically on them. Craft want to tell the public that in spite of the allegations, the rest of the employees of the Lafayette Police Department still come to work faithfully to perform their duties. They have not and will not deviate from the mission to protect and serve. Although they serve in the public, most employees lead private lives. Craft expressed compassion for officers who are tramautized to hear their private, what they thought were friendly, conversations in a lawsuit and heard on the news. "This selfish scheme is not working, nor will it work" , says Craft. He says he appreciates the support from the community who "is not buying into this sham" and show it through calls and emails.
06/13/2012 06:35 PM by Erin Steuber
The federal lawsuit filed by ten, past and present, police officers against the city and Lafayette Police Department. The federal suit lists a familiar accusation. But would history really repeat itself? Among other things the officers allege illegal wiretapping. The officers named as plantiffs in the suit, admit to micing themselves for years, and say they have tape recordings of a fellow officer admitting phone calls are monitored at the police department. The difference is, in Louisiana you can record a conversation if at least one of the parties knows about it. In the recording, given to us by the officers' attorney, you hear Officer Scott Poeincot and a fellow officer having a conversation. The officer acknowledges the use of illegal wiretapping, even citing a specific time when he, himself, did not feel comfortable entering a room knowing officers could eavesdrop.
We do not know if that is going on, or if it's even being investigated now that the allegation has been made.
If this sounds familiar, it's happened before inside the Lafayette Police Department. In 2008, former Police Chief Randy Hundley pled guilty to one count of malfeasance in office, after he was accused of bugging his secretary's office. But in the Hundley case, a recording device was found and it was placed there without the secretary's knowledge. Hundley retired, and current Police Chief Jim Craft took his place.
A civil suit filed against Hundley, over that incident, was settled for $23,000. As for Hundley's criminal record, he was sentenced to 12-months probation. His record has since been expunged at the request of Hundley's attorney.
LPD and LCG's Attorney Michael Corry stresses wiretapping is not the correct word.
He says "Phone lines at LPD are indiscriminately recorded for the purpose of protecting and serving the public in the ordinary course of police business. Certain individuals are authorized to monitor those recordings. The monitoring is never done while the person is on the phone. As per LPD policy all employees are aware that certain lines in the department are taped, just like they are at 911."
06/13/2012 06:33 PM by Erin Steuber
The Lafayette Police Department gets a 60 day extension for the internal affairs investigation against 15 officers. The officers filed a federal suit against the city and the department last week. Internal Affairs is investigating the leak of confidential documents. Monday, Police Chief Jim Craft asked for an extension citing delays with the recent lawsuits filed by several of the officers being investigated.
IA is trying to determine whether the officers leaked documents to an attorney who was representing a fellow officer. Officer Scott Poeincot of the Fire and Police Civil Service Board is involved in both the IA investigation and two lawsuits. He abstained from voting on the Chief's request because of his involvement in the investigations.
06/12/2012 06:26 PM by Erin Steuber
For the first time Police Chief Jim Craft speaks out against allegations made against the top brass at the police department.
Craft tells employees of the department he's disappointed that the actions of a few disgruntled officers are overshadowing the honor and integrity of the department. The letter was given by a source close to the investigation.
" I believe that the dedication and determination of our officers and employees, even in the face of such false and public insult, will not deter us from our mission. We cannot and should not allow the self-serving attempts of a few, to soil our good name and reputation."
Craft describes how the use of secret recordings and what he calls half-truths and lies does not become the department. And the judicial system will weigh all information fairly before acting on the allegations.
06/12/2012 06:15 PM by Erin Steuber
Chief Jim Craft issues a letter to employees after lawsuits are filed against him, the department, and LCG by current and former officers. Click HERE to read the letter for yourself. The chief expresses disappointment in the officers who secretly recorded conversations with fellow officers and are "using these clandestine recordings to further malign the reputation of the Lafayette Police Department". Craft goes on to say the judicial system has and will weigh all the information fairly before acting on any allegations and there is no "culture of corruption".
06/11/2012 06:31 PM by Erin Steuber
City-Parish President Joey Durel is speaking out for the first time about the lawsuit filed against the Lafayette Police Department and Consolidated Government by ten present and former police officers. Durel says this is the first time in his administration officers are alleging "such ugly things about their own department."
"People can make charges. That doesn't make them true. There's perceptions and there's mis-perceptions and sometimes there's other motivations, so we need to find out what the truth is," said Durel.
He says within the next two days he will be asking the State Police or other outside agencies to conduct investigations to put an end to this as soon as possible.
"We have too many good men and women who work for our police department to have this kind of a black eye and to have these kind of ugly accusations about this police department," said Durel.
Durel says he wants to reassure the public that he will do everything in his power to pursue the truth.
"I take corruption extremely serious. It's one of the things that we don't need, we don't need those kind of allegations levied especially if they're false," said Durel. "That's why I take it so serious. That's about as ugly a word in my opinion as you can apply to local government or to any government. I guess my question is if this is all as bad as they say it is why now?"
The officer's Attorney Stephen Spring says the officers have stepped forward because "it's become intolerable, unjust and brazen at the police department."
For some background, all this was set in motion when the officers filed in district court on May 22. The officers claim racial discrimination, corruption and physical retaliation. At a May 29 hearing, the court denied a restraining order the officer's requested. But the officers are not backing down. They responded by filing a lawsuit in federal court. In response to the latest lawsuit LPD and LCG filed their own suit against one of the officers, Scott Poiencot. Why just him? He's a member of the Fire and Police Civil Service Board.
The suit against Poiencot alleges he's been showing favoritism and committed gross misconduct by, among other claims, secretly recording conversations with other officers since 2006. The lawsuit requests Poiencot be removed from the civil service board. But we were provided a recording from Poiencot's attorney that they say shows the faith Police Chief Jim Craft had in him to do his job.
"People can contact him and ask for advice and ask for input. I said, as long as he's objective and unbiased and does not, and I said I gotta tell you so far I've found him to be pretty fair," said Craft in a conversation on April 13,2012.
The officer's Attorney Stephen Spring has sent a letter to the city asking that they pay all legal costs in the case against Poiencot. They are sighting General Order 203.5 which says the city is required to pay any legal fees whenever an officer is met with civil litigation.
06/08/2012 05:35 PM by Erin Steuber
As you recall an original case was filed on May 22 putting everything in motion.The nine officers originally filed their case in district court. They brought forward audio tapes, video documentation and claims of injustice by the Chief and a police Major. At a hearing May 29 a judge voted in favor of the city and the officers are not backing down. This week they filed a case in federal court, still alleging corruption, racial discrimination and physical threats.
Although five current Lafayette police officers are among the group suing the police chief, only one of them is being counter-sued by the chief himself. Officer Scott Poiencot is not only a police officer, he is also a member of the Fire and Police Civil Service Board. That means he had to take an oath to faithfully and impartially administer the Civil Service law. In a suit filed by LCG and the Lafayette Police Department they claim Poiencot isn't doing that. They claim he has shown favoritism and committed gross misconduct. Allegations include secretly recording conversations with fellow police officers since 2006, and engaging in the creation of the website "Real Cops V Craft". They are asking that Poiencot is immediately removed from his position.
Lafayette's Civil Service Board Attorney Candice Hattan says "This is the first time in my research, or experience, a request to remove an elected uniformed member of the Fire and Police Civil Service Board has been made."
I also spoke to the State Examiner Melinda Livingston who shares a similar belief. She says this case could be "breaking new ground." Poiencot's Attorney Stephen Spring says the effort to remove Scott is retalitory.
"The soul basis of this corruption is because he recorded. Interestingly,the testimony in the restraining order case, the recordings were made not to conduct an investigation, but to protect themselves because of the sad state of the police department under the Craft administration," said Spring.
Spring has filed a cease and desist order in response to this latest lawsuit. In addition to asking the council to order the chief to stop all investigations against the officers involved, he's also asking that a new, alleged order by the chief be declared void. That order prohibits the use of recording devices against other officers without Craft's approval. This comes after recordings like this were leaked to the press. 'You gotta put up, or shut up. They're gonna tell them that I retaliated against him and that I violated policy. He's not gonna go before a board and make those accusations and then just walk away from it," said Major Jackie Alfred in a recorded conversation on April 14.
Spring says this latest case is further proof of why they started this suit in the first place.
"It just exemplifies the methodology and the lengths which the administration will go to keep people silent, and keep secret from the public what's really going on," said Spring.
LPD and LCG's Attorney Michael Corry says "As a sitting member of the Lafayette Fire and Police Civil Service Board, Scott Poiencot has an obligation to act as an unbiased judge over civil service matters. We intend to show in this lawsuit that his actions amount to a blatant conflict of interest requiring his removal."
06/08/2012 11:06 AM by Erin Steuber
Lafayette Consolidated Government, along with Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft and Major Jackie Alfred, are suing one of the nine officer's who just filed a federal suit against them. They claim officer Scott Poiencot who serves as a member of the Lafayette Fire and Police Civil Service Board has engaged in favoritism and committed gross misconduct, including:
Joining eight other officers in the lawsuit against them.
The suit also claims he was involved in the creation of the website "Real Cops 'V' Craft."
The lawsuit asks that Poiencot is immediately removed from his position.
Poiencot's attorney Stephen Spring says "The only corruption here is what our clients have exposed to the public at great personal and professional risk. Their efforts are exposing the real-life practices and customs of the Durel administration and its henchmen."
We reached out to LPD and LCG's attorney Michael Corry who couldn't be reached for comment.
06/06/2012 03:46 PM by Erin Steuber
Nine police officers have filed a federal lawsuit against Lafayette Consolidated Government and two Lafayette Police Department superiors, including Chief Jim Craft. The plaintiffs claim their lawsuit reveals matters of grave public concern. The officers allege unfair reprisals, retaliation, and retribution for violating what they call the "Code of Silence." They say these violations include speaking out against disciplinary policies and revealing what they say is a lack of integrity in the police department. The officers' lawyers, Stephen Spring and Chris Alexander, say they expect more officers to join the lawsuit as the case progresses.
06/04/2012 06:17 PM by Erin Steuber
After not getting the verdict they were hoping for at last week's hearing a group of police officers say they're going to federal court to plead their case. Bringing you up to speed two weeks ago nine police officers asked for a restraining order against their two superiors and Lafayette Consolidated Government. They brought forward audio tapes, video documentation and claims of injustice by the Chief and a Police Major. but they were not awarded the ruling they hoped for. Despite the ruling the officers aren't backing
The officer's attorney Stephen Spring will be filing a federal lawsuit. The officer's are still alleging corruption, racial discrimination and physical threats, but Spring says they are bringing new evidence and allegations to the table. At last week's hearing a judge dissolved the temporary restraining order that had been granted to the officers only a week before. The decision was made in favor of the city, but the lawsuit itself was not dismissed.
The officer's believe this case is of the highest public interest and in addition to filing at the federal level, the group has created a website. According to their attorney, on that website, the officers will share copies of filings as well as more secretly recorded audio and video.
05/29/2012 05:40 PM by Erin Steuber
Nearly a week ago, we began reporting on the case of nine Lafayette Police Officers alleging corruption, racial discrimination and the fear of physical retaliation, against Lafayette Consolidated Government and high ranking officers a LPD, to include Police Chief Jim Craft. On Wednesday May 23 a judge granted the officers a temporary restraining order, but did the court uphold that decision? Today was the case's first and possibly last day in court. KATC's Erin Steuber was there to find out what was decided.
Judge Kristian Earles dissolved the temporary restraining order, ruling in favor of the city. But has not dismissed the lawsuit.
"What we do know is that Judge Earles has found that their claim was completley baseless, meritless and did not warrant to be brought," said the Defendant's attorney Michael Corry. "So he assessed all cost against the plaintiffs."
The judge played a recorded conversation between Major Jackie Alfred and Lieutenant Gabriel Thompson for the court. The officer's attorney Stephen Spring says the recording proves major alfred threatened officers.
"I think the record speaks for itself," said Spring. "I'm disappointed in the judges ruling, but it's not over by a long shot."
"All he needed to hear was hear the tape in its entirety, which he did and found that the city should prevail," said Corry.
Officer Thompson says he recorded the conversation because there were issues around the office that morning. He and another officer are the only two who took the stand. Altogether, 15 people, on both sides, were subpoenaed.
"All of the issues were not addressed by the judge and that's what he wanted to concentrate on in the evidence," said Spring. "So for today that's his ruling, but like I said there's a chapter two to this."
The judge has recommended that the case go back to the civil service board before being heard again in court.
05/28/2012 06:26 PM by Erin Steuber
Lafayette Consolidated Government, CAO Dee Stanley, Chief of Police Jim Craft and Major Jackie Alfred are responding to the allegations against them. KATC's Erin Steuber is following the case, and this is the first time the defendants have been heard from. They are denying the allegations saying there are no grounds to support claims of corruption, retaliation and physical threats. Their attorney, Michael Corry provided us this statement, quote:
"The claims asserted by the five officers are completely baseless and have no merit."
The pending lawsuit is based off an internal investigation, the officers claim violates the Policeman Bill of Rights. The defendants attorney however says the claims are based off of misinformation because of a typographical error.
Now on the other side, the officers attorney Stephen Spring says this portion of the pending lawsuit is based on the sworn testimony of Sgt. Keith Gremillion of Internal Affairs. According to audio tapes, Gremillion's testimony contradicts what the defendants claim of a typo.
"And when you received a copy of that Exhibit A, did you do some investigation to determine how officer Mclean may have obtained a copy since it was not part of the Internal Affairs investigation in this case?" said an attorney.
"Ah yes, I did. I went and looked at some recent shift level investigations. And I located that particular form, the original," said Sgt. Gremillion, May 8 under oath.
The officers attorney says he finds it "remarkable" the defendants are citing a typo.
May 29 will be the first time the case of nine Lafayette police officers filing suit against Lafayette Consolidated Government and two of their superiors will be heard in court. Another officer involved has come forward and says he is eager to end this. At the request of his attorney, we're concealing the officer's identity. The officer says once you "go against the grain you will be targeted no matter what."
"I knew these people were after me because I stood up, went against them," said the officer.
Before the lawsuit was filed, he says he filed an EEOC complaint and tried to address his concerns to Police Chief Jim Craft.
"What I asked for was a meeting where I could sit down with Craft, face to face, and put an end to this," said the officer. "I was sincere and I told him it would be done with, finished with, I just don't want to be bothered."
He says it will be his sworn testimony that Craft conspired to try to set him up in order to ultimately remove him from the department.
"There's evidence to back up anything those officers get up and testify to. It's not going to be hearsay," said the officer.
The wife of the officer says:
"It's unfortunate that the police department has to be perceived by the public this way because of the choices of a few."
05/25/2012 08:38 PM by Erin Steuber
An update on the now nine LPD officers who have obtained a temporary restraining order against the LPD and Lafayette Consolidated Government. A new set of allegations has been filed and four new officers have been officially added to the case.The officer's attorney filed a new pleading saying Chief of Police, Jim Craft, has begun strategically retaliating against the officers after they filed their request for a restraining order. The alleged new retaliations include the demotion and transfer of Scott Poiencot, a representative of the civil service board. Similarly, the defendants, including Lafayette Consolidated Government, filed a response to the original allegations and temporary restraining order. The defendant's attorney claims there is no factual or legal basis for their case and the issuance of the temporary restraining order.
05/25/2012 06:34 PM by Erin Steuber
At the advice of his attorney the officer has chosen not to reveal his identity, saying he is not afraid of the repercussion that could come from this case, but he says he is speaking out to protect other officers involved in the pending lawsuit. Saying:
"I can tell you I'm in a better position than these officers because i don't have to go inside that building. These officers have to go inside that same building, be taunted and be ridiculed by other fellow officer like I did."
The officer who came forward worked for the police department for 5 years. He says during those five years he was more afraid of his fellow officers and superiors than anyone on the street. He said:
"I did feel intimidated many times by my fellow officers because I didn't know if I went on a call something might happen to me. I always had to let officers go into a door first before I walked in. I always had to keep a recorder on me at all times. When an officer has to do this, the job is not fun anymore."
After a series of internal investigations of him, that the officer claims violated the Police Bill of Rights, they took away the job he loved. Before his termination the officer says the department questioned his ability to do his job. He was put through a series of psychiatric evaluations to determine if he was fit for duty. He alleges the department was "doctor shopping" when they were not getting the results they wanted. He provided KATC with a secretly recorded conversation between him and one of his psychiatrists. On the tape you can hear the doctor say he cleared the officer for duty.
"The city wanted a whole new altered sheet, which the psych doctor advised was just as legal as them scratching out and writing what they thought about the patient which was myself."
Pending the hearing on Tuesday, May 29 the officers will be protected from any retaliation within the department. KATC's Erin Steuber will be continuing to follow this story and will be covering the hearing on Tuesday.
05/24/2012 09:21 PM by Erin Steuber
Since we began reporting on the upheaval at the Lafayette police department on Tuesday, four more officers have joined the five already asking for a restraining order against their superiors.On Tuesday we told you five officers alleged threats of potential violence, public deception and retaliation. The officers asked for protection from LGC, the chief of police, CAO Dee Stanley and Major George "Jackie" Alfred. On May 29, a judge will hear arguments on why five Lafayette police officers want a restraining order filed against, among others, the chief of police.
"It is also an order of protection for the safety of the officers under the Police Bill of Rights," said Attorney Stephen Spring. "There can be no retaliation by anyone that is made a defendant or within the department."
This all started with a complaint made by an officer to the civil service board. That officer alleged his superior responded by filing an investigation to retaliate.The officer says that investigation should have been completed in 60 days, or it's declared null and void.
"It should have been completed sometime in April. And recently as a week ago, or 10 days ago, to conduct quote 'the investigation' for what was started back in February," said Spring.
The officers attorney provided KATC with recordings made by the officers secretly, giving us portions they say prove their claims. In one, the attorney claims Major George Alfred is reacting to a complaint made against him.
"You gotta put up or shut up. They're gonna tell them that I retaliated against him, and that I violated policy," said Alfred. "He's not gonna go before a board and make those accusations and then just walk away from it."
In the recording the officer goes on to say changes are on the way and he'll file his own complaint.
"I'm pushing for some disciplinary action," said Alfred. "You can't go and discredit people in a public forum and just walk away from it."
No one with the Lafayette police department could comment on camera about this case. We did find out though, 19 officers will be transferred in the department, which will take effect in June. One of the reasons we're told for the transfers is to make the officers better trained so they are more well-rounded and prepared for the next rank.
05/23/2012 06:16 PM by Erin Steuber
Five Lafayette police officers are alleging corruption, racial discrimination and the fear of physical retaliation, against Lafayette Consolidated Government and high ranking officers at the Lafayette police department. A hearing is set for May 29 to decide if a temporary restraining order will be granted to the five police officers. The officers' legal counsel Stanley Spring says more officers will be joining the case.
In addition the officers are filing for a preliminary and final injunction dealing with an irregular internal investigation. The officers say that they are also afraid of being shot or physically assaulted because of threats made by their superiors. The restraining order and law suit were filed against Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft, Major George "Jackie" Alfred, Lafayette Consolidated Government and CAO Dee Stanley.
We reached out to the Lafayette police department and Lafayette Consolidated Government who say they can not comment on the on-going investigations.