SHREVEPORT – A Minden Police Department lieutenant has yet to be reinstated despite a Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal ruling in early March that reversed his termination.
The judgment was rendered in Timothy Morris v City of Minden and Minden Fire and Police Civil Service Board on March 2.
“I have heard that, but I have not gotten anything in writing,” Minden Mayor Tommy Davis told the Louisiana Record. “I haven’t heard anything from the court at all.”
Lt. Timothy Morris worked at the department for more than 18 years before his termination in May 2013. On April 8, 2013 Morris took a call from a concerned mother who was unable to locate her children. Ten days later, Chief Steve Cropper met with Morris to discuss his handling of the call. According to court documents, Cropper told Morris that he had violated the Minden Police Code of Conduct Section 6.
The district court observed, and the appeals court reiterated, that there is no written procedure or protocol for the handling of missing children reports.
Morris completed a report documenting the violations as described by Cropper, and noting that the matter had been referred to the Personnel Committee and Appointing Authority for the city of Minden. The next day, Cropper upgraded the violations and terminated Morris.
Morris requested a hearing. The board repeatedly rejected his repeal requests based on procedural and typographical issues. After five appeal letters, the board agreed to hear Morris’ appeal. On Aug. 23, 2013 the board affirmed the police department’s decision, and Morris appealed to the district court soon after.
That court found that Morris should have been disciplined, but should not have been terminated. It also found that the board should have performed an independent review of the punishment. The board reviewed only Morris’ conduct, but not the conduct of the police department or the decision-making process leading up to the disciplinary action. The court ordered the board to complete the review.
The board appealed the ruling to the Court of Appeals. The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision that disciplinary action was warranted. It also affirmed the reversal of Morris’ termination; however, it reversed the judgment ordering a maximum penalty allowed by Louisiana’s civil service law of a 90-day suspension without pay and benefits. The court instead ordered that Morris receive full pay and benefits from the date of his reinstatement as well as recompensation for legal expenses.
The city has not yet announced whether or not it will appeal the case to the Louisiana Supreme Court; however, no action has been taken to reinstate Morris or provide him with the funds outlined in the judgment.
Cropper could not be reached for comment.