Judge Verdigets grants hearing to fired GPD officer; Separate lawsuit filed in federal court

A dejected Moses Black (center) leaving City Hall after the Civil Service Board declined to consider his appeal.

Moses Black was a 20-year law enforcement veteran, 15 years with Gonzales PD, when Police Chief Sherman Jackson terminated his employment on December 2, 2016.  Black, who alleged his firing was in retaliation for his reporting an incident of police brutality, was refused a hearing when he appealed the firing when the city’s Civil Service Board cited procedural deficiencies in July.  Black appealed the Board’s refusal and Judge Jason Verdigets granted Black’s relief earlier this morning meaning the Board will have to hear the merits of Black’s case.

NOTE: Black also filed a Civil Rights/Whistleblower action in the Middle District of Louisiana federal court yesterday.  Pelican Post will bring you that story tomorrow.

Gonzales Police Chief “covered up” brutality investigation allege former officers

Miranda Mumphrey, attorney for the City of Gonzales, argued that Black’s “Notice of Intent” to appeal his firing was insufficient to trigger the hearing, conceding the notice was received by the city within the statutorily prescribed 15 days.  According to Mumphrey he was required to “ask for specific relief” within that time frame.  The city did not inform Moses Black’s counsel of the  insufficiency until months later.

“They were going to appeal, but they didn’t,” Mumphrey argued that the city “thought Mr. Black dropped” his appeal.

Judge Verdigets was not buying the argument.

“I think you already knew what he wanted,” Verdigets told Mumphrey.  “Why not respond to his December (2016) email if you felt it was insufficient/deficient (and afford Black the opportunity to comply with requirements)?”

The judge likened the city’s appellate process to the courts which routinely allow litigants to cure procedural defects by amended pleadings.  Were Mumphrey and the city “waiting in the weeds?”

“It was glaringly obvious that Mr. Black wanted to appeal,” asserted Chris Alexander.  “Moses’ job is a property which cannot be deprived without due process; substantive and procedural due process.”

The Court agreed with Alexander’s reasoning and Moses Black will get his Civil Service hearing.