Thursday, 29 November 2012 14:09
by Patrick Flanagan
Judge dismisses most allegations in police lawsuit
A federal court judge cleared all but three of the 13 defendants named in a lawsuit filed earlier this year by a group of former and current Lafayette police officers against high-ranking officials from within the PD and Lafayette Consolidated Government.
During a hearing Wednesday, federal Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna dismissed all the allegations included in the suit, except those pertaining to First Amendment Rights violations. The defendants cleared Wednesday by Hanna include LCG, the Lafayette Police Department, City-Parish President Joey Durel, LCG Human Resources Manager Ray Domingue, and police officers Ted Vincent, Randy Vincent, Levy Firmin, Dwayne Prejean, U.J. Prevost and Keith Gremillion. Those who remain in the suit are Chief Jim Craft, Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley and Maj. Jackie Alfred.
Hanna’s ruling concludes:
[T]he plaintiffs’ claims are reduced to ... two alleged policymakers, and one supervisor for the alleged violation of their First Amendment free speech rights, seeking compensation for the adverse employment actions that allegedly occurred as a result of those violations.”
Those two policy makers are Chief of Police Jim Craft and LCG Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley. They are joined by officer Jackie Alfred, a supervisor within the department, as the last defendants with allegations still lingering after Wednesday’s ruling.
What remains for Craft, Stanley and Alfred is the allegation that they violated the First Amendment rights of six defendants through an unspoken policy called the “Code of Silence.”
According to the lawsuit:
[I]n order to maintain control ... the Stanley-Craft Organization perpetuat[ed] a permanent hostile work environment [through] bogus internal complaint and bogus internal affairs investigations. [F]ailure to honor this so-called ‘code’ is punished with severe employment-based retaliation.
Lafayette attorney Michael Corry represents LCG and the department but declined comment due to judge Hanna’s standing gag order.
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