After his bid to stop a transfer from patrol to human resources within the Shreveport Police Department was denied by the Civil Service Board this week, Sgt. Michael Carter has filed a lawsuit against Police Chief Ben Raymond and the city in an effort to halt the move.
According to the lawsuit filed by attorney Pamela Breedlove, Chief Raymond’s transfer of Sgt. Carter would force the 23-year veteran to choose between his job and his elected position on the Civil Service Board.
“This is the only way for Sgt. Carter to get the relief to allow him to do both jobs,” said Breedlove. “He wants to continue to do his job as a sergeant of the Shreveport Police Department, as he has done for over over 23 years. But he has also been elected to the Civil Service Board position, and if you read the petition, it seems more than coincidental that after [Carter] ruled against the city and Chief Raymond on several issues, that he is moved to a position that would create a conflict.”
The lawsuit alleges that in December, 2018, Chief Raymond contacted Sgt. Carter about him possibly transferring to the Shreveport Police Human Resource Office.
Sgt. Carter advised Chief Raymond that he could not transfer due to the potential conflict.
The suit claims Sgt. Carter offered to provide training to Shreveport Police Human Resources and others but respectfully declined the position.
The suit claims Chief Raymond never said another word to Sgt. Carter about a transfer and never requested any training.
On Sunday, March 17th Carter first read an e-mail sent by Chief Raymond two-days earlier stating that Sgt. Carter was being transferred.
Breedlove says Carter’s role in HR would force him to recuse himself from many Civil Service Board hearings.
“It’s a backdoor way to try and prevent him from ruling on some cases and not on others,” said Breedlove. “They want him off that board. That’s what they’ve tried to do.”
NBC 6 News has reached out to the city and Chief Raymond for comment, both said they do not respond to pending litigation.
Below are several of the claims in the suit:
Many of Sgt. Carter’s duties in SPD HR would create conflicts of interest to his elected position to the Board particularly if he is assigned to perform the standard duties in that division.”
Sgt. Carter’s transfer to SPD HR is an abuse of power in a clear attempt influenced and control decisions of the Board that review the actions and decisions of Chief Raymond by:
1. Causing Sgt. Carter to recuse on many and/or selected cases before the Board which could result in the action standing due to a tie vote and/or due to the lack of participation by Carter
2. Causing Sgt. Carter to face another Ethics Board complaint and possible discipline by the Ethics Board; and/or
3. Giving Chief Raymond grounds to begin disciplinary action against Sgt. Carter up to and including termination if he refuses to perform services that would conflict with his duties as a Board member; AND
4. Suppressing the vote of the members of SPD for their representative on the Board by precluding and/or attempting to preclude Sgt. Carter from participating in appeals, voting on the appeals, and representing their interests on the Board.
Carter says he will not resign his post on the board, and Breedlove says that’s what the city wants.
“We’re not going to make him get off the board,” said Breedlove, speaking as if she were representing the city. “We’re just gonna prevent [Carter] from doing your job while your there.”
A preliminary injunction hearing on this matter is expected within the next two weeks.