Jackson either “most corrupt” or “most incompetent” asserts federal Whistleblower lawsuit

Moses Black filed a lawsuit against Chief of Police Sherman Jackson and the City of Gonzales in the Middle District of Louisiana federal court on Monday alleging that Jackson engaged in a cover-up of police brutality; among numerous damning allegations against the third-term police chief.  According to his pleadings, which assert “civil rights violations” and invoke protections of Louisiana’s Whistleblower statute, Black was fired on December 2, 2017 in retaliation for reporting wrongdoing by fellow officers.

The suit includes:

Jackson grossly exaggerated and manufactured certain policy violations and other acts of alleged wrongdoing against Officer Black which led to baseless and/or highly disparate disciplinary action, including suspension and ultimate termination, all in retaliation for Officer Black’s reporting highly improper, illegal, and unethical actions by fellow officers.

Black had made himself a persona non-grata with Chief Jackson when he reported a serious incident that he and fellow officer John McCoy personally witnessed. In the incident, two other officers had severely beaten Michael Banks, an elderly civilian, while in custody. Mr. Banks later died. Black reported that the officers involved also conspired to materially alter, and did in fact alter, the police report associated with the incident, and lied about what happened. Further, Black had also reported multiple incidents of racially charged, demeaning, and derogatory text messages, pictures, and videos being circulated among certain officers at various times. On multiple occasions Officer Black asked Chief Jackson to initiate meaningful investigations into these events, and others, to no avail.

Serious allegations to which Chief Jackson responded on Tuesday:

“I look forward to my day in court, as I vehemently deny the claims made by Mr. and Mrs. Black.  The truth will prevail, and until that time I will continue to do my job as Chief of Police without allowing this unfounded lawsuit to detract from my duties.”

Moses Black, in state court yesterday to successfully challenge Gonzales Civil Service Board’s refusal to hear the appeal of his termination, alluded to recordings he possesses which prove many of his allegations.  Black also points to multiple brother officers who have publicly supported his version of the events leading to his firing.  Certain of those officers substantiated allegations to Pelican Post.  See…

Gonzales Police Chief “covered up” brutality investigation allege former officers

Black asserts that the reason given for his termination, his inquiry into excessive traffic tickets being issued pursuant to a grant program, was merely a pretext. The firing, he insists, was Chief Jackson’s response to Black’s push for an investigation of the incident involving Michael Banks.  Black wrote and filed a report of that incident which included the following excerpt:

“Mr. Banks (the suspect) was sprayed with mace and handcuffed, laying on the floor, contained by three officer’s inside the police station causing no problems…Mr. Banks advised that he could not get up…(A fourth officer) said to Mr. Banks, “sit the f*** up” and kicked Mr. Banks twice in the rectum area like he was some kind of stray dog,” reads Black’s narrative report depicting the events of April 3, 2015.

Black’s suit asserts the narrative written by the arresting officer is false.  That narrative reads, in part:

“I was aware that Banks was under the influence of central nervous system depressant and had a history of seizures so I was hesitant to perform any central nervous system strikes on him.  I decided to meet his defensive resistance with my chemical spray, Top Cop (mace) to alter his behavior.  I then delivered a one second burst of Top Cop to Bank’s face followed by several verbal commands for him to get on the ground.  After several commands to get on the ground, I conducted a straight arm bar take down on Banks.  I placed a handcuff on Bank’s left wrist and instructed him to give me his right wrist.  Banks curled his right wrist under his chest and refused to cooperate.  I was finally able to handcuff Banks behind his back with the assistance of the (fourth officer).”

The federal claim goes on to allege other retaliation by Chief Jackson which included a 90-day suspension of Moses Black who was late for a detail.  Black, the suit argues, was the recipient of discipline much harsher than similarly situated officers who had not incurred Chief Jackson’s wrath.

“Jackson manufactured rumors that Officer Black was involved in the racially disparaging communications among other officers…initiated an investigation of Black for allegedly being late for a daytime security detail at the Ascension Parish Library in October 2015 (Black claims to have provided ample justification for his tardiness)… never in the history of the Gonzales Police Department has a chief imposed such draconian discipline for being 45 minutes late for a security detail.”

Moses Black (c) bracketed by attorneys Chris Alexander and Adrian Carter Ross

In March the Civil Service Board nullified that 90-day suspension finding “a lack of due process” but declined to take up the appeal of Black’s termination four months later.  At the time Black’s attorney, Chris Alexander said:

“So many incidents involving fellow officers were far more egregious than anything my client did and, uniformly, those officers were subject to much less severe disciplinary measures. We were fully prepared to put on evidence to prove Moses Black was treated more severely than other officers who committed more grievous offenses.”

Alexander was no less accusatory in drafting the federal suit which asserts that Chief Jackson ignored serious wrongdoing by officers not named, Moses Black:

Jackson turned a blind eye, and even acquiesced in, the egregious conduct of other officers who had engaged in misconduct such as criminal damage to property, unaccounted for absences to pre-scheduled security details, issuing baseless citations, sexual harassment, inter-office extramarital affairs among superiors and subordinates, DWI, obstruction of justice, battery, excessive force which subsequently led to a civilian death, malfeasance in office, creating, filing and maintaining false police reports, racially degrading communications of the foulest kind, and others acts of malfeasance and misconduct.

If this tragic reality were the only evidence in the instant case to prove malicious retaliation (it is not), it would be enough to prove the case. Chief Jackson is either the most corrupt, or the most utterly incompetent, Chief of Police to ever serve in law enforcement. The facts strongly militate in favor of the former.

The City of Gonzales was also named as a defendant in Black’s suit.  Mayor Barney Arceneaux responded yesterday:

“After speaking with our counsel today, we have been advised to say that we have no comment at this time, other than to say that we have great respect for the legal system, and have no doubt that the courts will do the right thing when all evidence is presented.”