2 SPD officers sue city for not confirming election to Civil Service Board

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SPD Sgt. Shannon Hicks and SPD Lt. Michael Carter (pictured) have filed a lawsuit against the City of Shreveport due to the City Council not confirming their July 30 elections to the Shreveport Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board. (KTAL/KMSS file photo)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Two Shreveport police officers have filed a lawsuit in Caddo District Court claiming they were elected by SPD police officers to represent them on the Civil Service Board, but the Shreveport City Council refuses to appoint them.

Shreveport police Sgt. Shannon Hicks and Lt. Michael Carter say they were elected to the Shreveport Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board in July, but the Shreveport City Council has refused to appoint them to their offices and are asking the court to force the council to do so.

In addition to serving as chairman of the Shreveport Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board, Carter is president of the Shreveport Police Officer’s Association, most recently sending a letter to the City opposing an insurance rate hike.

While Hicks is part of a class-action suit filed against the City of Shreveport in June 2020 that asks for extra compensation for working during weather and pandemic emergency declarations,

Carter has had a contentious relationship with his employer for many years. Between 2006 and 2021, Carter filed eight lawsuits against the City of Shreveport, one against the Caddo District Attorney and one against the Shreveport Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board. Between 2010 and 2021, the City of Shreveport has filed three lawsuits against Carter.

The latest lawsuit, filed Sept. 22, states that despite three City Council meetings held since Carter’s and Hicks’ election to the Civil Service Board it has failed to appoint them to their offices but says the two elected members elected by the Shreveport Fire Department were confirmed on August 10, the first City Council meeting after the July 30 election, but did not afford them the same courtesy.

In addition, the suit claims that on August 24, the Council postponed Hicks’ and Carters’ confirmation, and on Sept. 14, failed to take action again.

Although the lawsuit stops short of accusing City Council members of racism, paragraph 2 of the lawsuit points out that Hicks “is a Black female and only the second black and only the second female to be elected by SPD to represent police member on the Board. It has been more than 21 years since a Black female police officer served on the Board. The City has prevented Sgt. Hicks from taking her duly elected position.”

In addition, the lawsuit claims that in 2015, Carter was elected to the board, receiving “twice the votes of the second candidate in that election,” and that he was reelected to the board in 2018, and again in July, stating he was elected chairman of the Board in Oct. 2016 and has been chairman ever since.

The suit claims the City attorney told the Council no damage caused by the delay because Carter was allowed to remain in his position pending the appointment of new members, but counters that it’s not just Carter’s position at play, but Hicks’ as well.

However, according to the lawsuit, one council member inquired about Hick’s appointment not being confirmed, and if the voting to confirm her and Carter could be separated. A motion was made to confirm Hicks and was seconded, but after more discussion, the second was withdrawn.

A motion filed by the City of Shreveport on Sept. 27 asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming it was premature, as the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedures stipulates that government bodies have up to 90 days to appoint a successor.

On Sept. 28, Caddo District Judge Ramone Lafitte heard arguments from plaintiffs’ attorney, as well as from the City of Shreveport.

The case is on Lafitte’s Oct. 18 for a ruling.

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