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.
MAY 20 This post by blogger CB Forgotston draws parallels between Gov. Bobby Jindal and two individuals he probably doesn't want to be aligned with: President Obama and former governor Edwin Edwards. CB says Jindal's trying to jack up the debt ceiling (an Obama play, according to CB) and buy votes from GOP leges who normally wouldn't go for that (an Edwards play, CB says).
MAY 20 Here's a post in the Baptist Message from an alumnus of Louisiana College. The author, Larry Burgess, calls on the leadership of the private school to take care of some pressing problems. Physical plant issues are critical and unaddressed, some faculty make so little they need government health care, and there is an atmosphere that does not encourage honest discussion, he writes. It's time to get things back in order, he says.
MAY 20 This post in Gambit tells of a benefit concert scheduled to raise money for the 19 people shot during a Mother's Day second line on Frenchmen Street in NOLA. Among them was Gambit blogger Deb Cotton, who spoke frequently about violence in the city and reported on the city's second line culture. Gambit's foundation, along with other NOLA non-profits, also is selling t-shirts to raise money for the victims.
MAY 20 Blogger Robert Mann is critical of the personal interest some legislators take in their work here, sharing the comments one NOLA solon made in explaining his decision to vote against a bill that would require people to stop discriminating against female workers. His wife might lose some salary, so he was going to have to vote against the equal pay bill, Conrad Appel said. Appel and everyone who heard him should have been ashamed, but they weren't, and that's what is wrong in that building, Mann argues.
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MAY 20 This Picayune story questions the rhetoric of NOLA officials who say the city, aside from having a "murder problem," is safe. The talking points generally are that the criminals are killing each other, but everything else is OK. The police chief there says that even Lafayette is more dangerous than NOLA. But crime experts interviewed here say that NOLA's numbers indicate one of two things: either people are so used to violence they don't report it, or somebody's "fudging the numbers."
MAY 20 The Advocate's Mark Ballard writes about some of the background maneuvering that took place during the development of budget alternatives in the Legislature. From Rep. Joel Robideaux being called a "tax and spend liberal" to robo-call influence, Ballard lets us in on some of the work that happens behind the scenes but usually doesn't make it into the Advocate's daily coverage of the session.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.