Fired Abbeville policeman can get her job back because her Police Officer Bill of Rights were violated, court rules

Julie Gaspard made no decision if she wants to return working for the Abbeville Police Department

 

The Third Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that investigators investigating Abbeville Police Officer  Julie Gaspard in a taser incident violated the Louisiana Police Officers Bill Rights, throwing out the termination of Gaspard.

Now, because of the ruling, the Abbeville Police Department must offer Gaspard her job back with the Abbeville Police Department. 

It is unknown if Gaspard will rejoin the police department. Theodore Alpaugh III, her lawyer, said, “I am pleased with the court’s ruling in favor of my client.”  He did not know what his client was going to do about going back to work for the Abbeville Police Department. 

Gaspard was fired by the City of Abbeville  in 2010 because of an incident dealing with a taser accidently going off during a demonstration at a middle school. 

At the time, Gaspard was employed by the city as a police officer. She was assigned to serve as a school resource officer at J.H. Williams Middle School. Court records say she was giving a demonstration to a sixth grade class and the taser discharged, hitting a student in the chest.  The student  did not receive a shock from it.

The Abbeville police launched an investigation into the incident and Sgt. Jason Hebert was assigned to investigate because he was the department’s taser trainer. Also, the Internal Affairs Board investigated and questioned Sgt. Hebert and Gaspard.

The Internal Affairs Board recommended Officer Gaspard be suspended without pay for seven days.  Abbeville Police Chief Tony Hardy said 10 days suspension.

The matter proceeded to a pre-disciplinary hearing before the City Council in executive session. The council voted to terminate Gaspard.

After the firing, Gaspard brought up the issue of Hebert’s testimony to Internal Affairs was never recorded to the Civil Service Board.  The Civil Service Board found no merit in Gaspard’s argument, according to court records, and upheld the city’s decision.

Gaspard did not let it go about Hebert’s testimony not being recorded.  It went to a lower court and the court ruled that Hebert’s interview was recorded even though no recording was ever found. 

Gaspard appealed the lower court’s ruling to the Third Circuit Court of Appeal. 

In the Louisiana Police Officer’s Bill of Rights it states: 

“ All interrogations of any police employee or law enforcement officer in connection with the investigation shall be recorded in full.  The police employee or law enforcement officer shall not be prohibited from obtaining a copy of the recording or transcript of the recording of his statements upon his written request.”

The City of Abbeville can ask the State Supreme Court to hear the case.  The city council did not inform Abbeville attorney Ike Funderburk  if they wanted to appeal the case to the State Supreme Court.

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