Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Civil Service hearing for fired officer will continue on Thursday

The civil service hearing for fired Bossier City Police officer Philip Vernon will continue tomorrow afternoon.
Vernon was fired for filing a report that was inaccurate in regards to the threats of intimidation that he had charged. Vernon said in his report that former Webster Parish ADA Sherb Sentell had threatened his, and reserve officer Jared Fisher’s, jobs in the police car while en route to the jail. The tapes reveal Sentell threatening a lawsuit, but not threatening to get the officers fired.
He later filed a supplemental report that said the threat happened between the car and the jail.
Sentell invoked his constitutional right to plead the fifth amendment and not testify at the hearing.
Police Chief Mike Halphen testified that he had no choice but to fire Vernon, since the evidence on the tapes differed from what Vernon said in his report.
Halphen said that the discrepancy called Vernon’s credibility into question in any future cases.
"Any defense attorney would hold up that report and say, 'You lied in that report,'" Halphen said.

34 comments:

  1. I'm not sure what to think about this. The chief is pretty certain of what he is doing.

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  2. What motivation would Philip Vernon have for lying? What could he possibly gain from that? What did police departments do before in-car videos? What about departments that can't afford cameras in patrol cars? Officer Vernon took an oath when he accepted his badge. Why would he violate that for a drunk, egotistical, wife-beater? Did it escape anyone's attention that Sentell pleaded the 5th which means he doesn't want to make statements for which he might be held accountable? Ironic. This is ridiculous. If that man hadn't been the ADA this wouldn't even be an issue. Officer Vernon should be reinstated with an appology and back pay.

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  3. OFFICER VERNON LIED AND GOT FIRED - OTHER THAN HIS BLOW HARD ATTENTION SEEKING LAWYER - LIARS DO NOT NEED TO WEAR A BADGE - ONLY THE LAWYERS THAT REPRESENT THEM GET THE PRIVILEGE OF LYING WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE. JOEL - YOUR ZEALOUS REPRESENTATION IS COMPLETELY OVERSHADOWED BY YOUR CENTIMETER DEEP CHARACTER AND COMPLETE DISREGARD FOR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

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  4. If you attended the hearing, it was public, it is obvious that Vernon was not telling the truth.
    "The chief is pretty certain of what he is doing", are you serious? only thing he is certain of is what bottle to drink from tonight.

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  5. everyone knows about halphen and his bottles but how is it obvious he was lying?

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  6. Anon at 8:58, I don't follow you. You said it was obvious that Vernon was lying. The chief fired him for lying, yet you take issue with saying the chief was certain of what he was doing.
    That doesn't make sense.

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  7. Sherbie...I know that was you at 7:41...now why don't you turn your psycho knob down a few hundred notches and look into those anger management classes....there's a good boy...go on now

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  8. Sherbie was out celebrating tonight with friends eating at 7:41Must be someone else saying the obvious... This hearing is about whether the officer lied or not...plain and simple.

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  9. Celebrating what?

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  10. the issue here is pretty simple. if you say it is ok for a cop to lie on a police report (not "make a mistake," just lie) give the guy his job back. if you don't think cops should lie in their reports, he should be fired. it is pretty simple.

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  11. Please explain to me....on the tapes Sentell threatens a lawsuit..we all hear that..if i were the officer, i would surmise from that he was meaning my job..if only based on this alone, i think interpretation is the question..not lying on a report. If the officer further reported that his job was threatened between the police car and the building with no tape involved, then I would believe the officer who is only doing his job over a drunk who is defiant and his language that is on tape. This reeks of too much political power gone awry. The smell will remain regardless.

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  12. the comment about a CIVIL lawsuit does not constitute a threat. I know that and I am not even a lawyer, thank God.

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  13. How does the officer justify putting something in a report that is not true? I don't see how he can justify that! I am not a lawyer either, but I am pretty sure that if you prove my police report to be false, you will not be found guilty of the crime I arrested you for. Just sayin!!!

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  14. Whats your opinion on this Jim?

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  15. I have no desire to second guess Chief Halphen at this point. I put the tapes up so that everyone could hear what was said. There was no threat in the tapes to have the officers fired. If Officer Vernon made a mistake in his report as to where the threat was made, it was a very serious mistake. Does it require his being fired? The chief thinks so.

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  16. Jim, after reading all of your blogs about BCPD, I never thought of you as a Halphen supporter...guess I was wrong.

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  17. Why? I have never, to my knowledge, blogged anything against Mike Halphen. I support the police department as a whole.

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  18. I CAN'T BELIEVE YOUR TAKING UP FOR SENTELL.

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  19. I agree with you Jim. If he made that serious of a mistake, he should be fired

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  20. This isn't about Sentell. This is about an internal police matter - an officer filing an inaccurate report.
    I have no doubt that Sentell was capable of threatening the officers jobs, and he may have done so, but he didn't do it in the car as the report said.
    As I said, I am not going to second guess Chief Halphen on his decision.

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  21. Here's the real question. Does the officer lose his job if its Reggie Washington rather than Sherb Sentell??????????Answer- Hell NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  22. I understand that point very well, but the fact is that it was Sherb Sentell. He made that very clear in the tape. Call Schuyler, call Cedric, call Hugo Holland ad infinitum.
    This is the most puzzling thing to me, if there ever is a time to dot your i's and cross your t's this was it. And Officer Vernon didn't do it.
    What do you think the chief should have done, what do you think the appropriate action would have been?

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  23. Heres what you have to consider. Over the course of fifteen minutes I tell you 25 things. Now, an hour later you list the 25 things that I've said to you. Do you think you can put those statements in the order in which they were stated? Why would the officer lie about it. And why would Sentell plead the fifth? Use your God given common sense here folks. Ultimately the officer lost his job just as he said Sentell told him he would. Throw in that youv'e got Sentell working for most corrupt DA in the state and you get what we have here. Are you really surprised?

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  24. I don't think the Chief has any choice in the matter. Jim, you can window-dress it any way you want (you call it inaccurate report, most people call it lying). The bottom line is this--I don't want dishonest cops. I want honest cops. Is that too much to ask?

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  25. from ANON post 9:47...on the tapes Sentell threatens a lawsuit..we all hear that..if i were the officer, i would surmise from that he was meaning my job..if only based on this alone, i think interpretation is the question..not lying on a report. If the officer further reported that his job was threatened between the police car and the building with no tape involved, then I would believe the officer who is only doing his job over a drunk who is defiant and his language that is on tape...

    The above post makes more sense than any other entry posted!

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  26. Says something about Vernon that he got an ambulance chasing sleazeball like Joel Pearce to represent him.

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  27. The problem with the "lawsuit threat" theory is that Vernon testified that is not the threat that he arrested Sentell for. Vernon testified at internal affairs that the threat was made about his job and that it was on video. He then viewed the video (which had the lawsuit threat on it) and changed his story to say the intimidation threat was NOT ON THE VIDEO, it was outside the car. So, there goes your "lawsuit threat" theory. Vernon himself said that aint the threat which brought the charge to Sentell. Any new theory to deny the obvious? - Vernon simply lied and got caught.

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  28. Breaking news:

    Vernon gets job back. Will receive 90 suspension.

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  29. 90 days suspension

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  30. first of all vernon knows that he had video on and everything was being recorded---he obviously turned the video cam around to point to sentell while in the car. Its obvious he would have known that anything he charged sentell with would be reviewed via the video...since in fact he was the one making sure it was being recorded. clearly the man inadvertently got confused on what exactly was said where, but there is absolutely no doubt that sentell was throwing names around attempting to intimidate vernon with a lawsuit, which anyone of reasonable intelligence would consider their job hanging in the balance. This is not rocket science and im glad the civil service board did their job. im disappointed with halphen that he did not stand behind his officer on this, he will get to live with this during his retirement. the man was doing his job and unfortunately had a nutcase DA from Webster under our GREAT and HIGHLY Respected DA MARVIN (added sarcasm) acting like a complete fool and totally disrespecting law enforcement which he is patently supposed to be defending as a prosecuter.

    we need more vernons out there and less sentells and marvins if you ask me. the good ole boy network needs to go.

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  31. Coming Soon the Sentell Defense: I know two officers said I did it. But its not on tape. Charges dropped. Man its fun being an officer.

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  32. I have tried to believe Vernon throughout all of this but the evidence contradicts him and not just in a small way. Vernon says it is on his tape and it is not. I honestly dont know how you can believe anything he says. If he chooses to try to continue being a cop, I would like to be in the courtroom the next time he takes the witness stand. It will not be pretty. And it will not be the DA tearing him apart, it will be a defense lawyer.

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  33. Police Academy 101 teaches you that a threat to sue is not a crime...it is in fact a right every citizen has. Vernon knew that wasn't public intimidation. Fisher testified he didn't hear Sentell threaten their jobs. Vernon lied bottom line...his credibility is gone. Vernon should have bowed out silently...instead of having everyone know he lied in a police report.

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  34. I do not know how you think you can know that Officer Vernon was lying. Did you ever think of what he and his family have been through? I do not think anyone would or could be themselves under the pressure he has been under. His nerves have been on end, without his Faith, I don't know what he and his family would do.

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