The Shreveport Fire and Police Civil Service Board has rejected a Shreveport police sargeant’s request to reverse his transfer from patrol duty to another department within SPD and remove the provisional police chief on the grounds that the transfer was retaliatory and an abuse of power.
“I do believe this is an abuse of power by Chief BenRaymond,” said board member Michael Carter. “I will appeal it and I do feel like I’m going to win this case.”
The Shreveport Fire and Police Civil Service Board voted 6 to 2 that Chief Ben Raymond acted in good faith when he ordered Sgt. Michael Carter moved from the Patrol Division to the Human Resources within the department.
(Michael Carter, Civil Service Board Member)
“I expected the board members to be more reasonable,” Carter said. “Some of them have seen what I’ve went through. They’ve seen what I’ve been through with other chiefs, city attorneys and administrations. The last administration tried this and they’re no longer the mayor, no longer the chief. I guess now it’s time for this administration to go down the same road.”
That decision was made after more than three hours of testimony and arguments at a special meeting of the board called by Sgt. Carter Tuesday afternoon.
Carter has been an employee with the Shreveport Police Department for 22 years. In addition to his elected position on the civil service board, he is currently the President of the Shreveport Police Officer’s Association and has been an outspoken critic of the police department’s administration.
Carter, who recused himself from the board in order to testify before it, claimed that interim Police Chief’s Ben Raymond’s decision to transfer him out of the Patrol Division to Human Resources would require him to resign from the civil service board.
“I can’t serve in my duties on the board,” Carter argued. “This is discriminatory and retaliatory. They want me off this board, they want to compromise my vote.”
“At that time, I didn’t realize he would have to recuse himself from the board,” Raymond said during the hearing when asked to recall the conversation he had with Carter about the transfer. “I said I thought he worked for the SPD, versus his secondary role as a board member.”
When Raymond’s attorney, Nichole M. Buckle, asked if he ordered the transfer that it would force Carter to resign, Raymond said, “I still don’t see that he would be compromised. I don’t feel that he would.”
Buckle argued that the the police chief was simply trying to appoint the most qualified person to serve in the Human Resources department, and that Carter was not being asked to resign from the board.
At times raising his voice during the course of the hearing, Carter repeated his refusal to resign from the board.
“I said once again, I am not resigning from the municpal fire and police service board. I’m not!”
“The only issue you can decide today is whether Chief Raymond made the decision to deliberately discriminate,” Raymond’s attorney, Nichole M. Buckle, told the board.
Following the board’s vote, Carter told the board that he intended to appeal the decision.
Raymond was appointed to the interim position by then-Mayor Ollie Tyler in November when Alan Crump left the office on administrative medical leave. He was reappointed to the position in December by the Civil Service Board, and newly-elected Mayor Adrian Perkins changed his appointment status to provisional Chief of Police in February.
Provisional appointments last 90 days, and only one 90-day extension is permitted. That means Raymond’s provisional status will expire no later than August 2019.
The Civil Service Board is currently accepting applications for the police chief’s job.