Appeals court reverses officer termination

A Minden Police Department lieutenant fired in 2013 could soon be returning to the force.

Morris
Morris
The Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a district court ruling reversing Lt. Tim Morris’ termination. The appeal court also ruled that Morris should receive only a 90-day suspension without pay for his handling of a missing children incident. That’s the maximum discipline Louisiana’s civil service law allows.

“The truth and the facts of this case has been reviewed by two courts and I am pleased with the judge’s decision,” Morris said. “I look forward to continuing my duties as a police officer.”

Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper fired Morris in May 2013 on the grounds he violated policy and procedure.

In August 2013, Morris appealed the firing to the civil service board and they unanimously upheld the decision.

In his appeal to the district court, Morris claimed he was “terminated without an investigation by MPD and via a ‘biased’ appeal process. Morris also states his punishment – termination from MPD – was greatly disproportionate to his alleged violations regarding the missing children incident.”

Judge Mike Craig reversed the termination in March 2015 and remanded it to the civil service board to determine what discipline would be appropriate. Instead of taking the case back up, the board appealed the district court ruling.

According to court documents, the court said Morris did not violate policy, because no policy in reference to missing children exists within city handbooks.

The appeal court also awarded Morris full pay and benefits from the date of his reinstatement. Morris’ attorney, Pam Breedlove, said the city will owe him around 30 months of pay and retirement benefits.

No word if the city plans to appeal the case with the State Supreme Court. Keith King Jr., president of the Minden civil service board referred all questions to Minden Mayor Tommy Davis, who was out of town Wednesday.

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