Sunday, December 5, 2010

Update on Vernon case

This is a synopsis of what has transpired since the firing of Bossier City Police Officer Phillip Vernon last December. I am assuming that the readers of My Bossier are familiar with the arrest of Sherb Sentell, 26th JDC ADA and the subsequent firing of Reserve Officer Jared Fisher and Officer Phillip Vernon. The two officers were fired for filing false reports in backing up the charge of public intimidation.
Officer Vernon’s report stated:
  • 18. “C. Sentell refused to stop talking and he stated that he is friends with Ron Miciotto, a local attorney, and he was going to sue every officer involved.
  • 19. He then advised me that he was going to see to it that officers were sued and that the officers were going to lose their jobs over this incident.
  • 20. I advised C. Sentell that he could be charged for making the threats to the jobs of the Bossier City Police Officers involved in this arrest.
  • 21. C. Sentell continued to curse and he continued to tell this officer to call Schuyler Marvin right now.
An in car video was operable in the patrol car. The remarks about Ron Miciotto were clearly audible, but there was no subsequent threat saying that officers were going to lose their jobs.
Reserve Officer Fisher was more specific, saying that the threat came as they were turning into the police station.
In an interview with Lt. Larry Stockton, after hearing the tape from the car, Vernon stated that it must have happened after they exited the car.
Reserve Officer Fisher did not change his statement, saying that it happened in the car.
Vernon appealed his termination to the Fire & Police Civil Service Board.
At the February hearing, according to Vernon’s lawyer, the officer was ‘shocked and dismayed’ to find that former 26th JDC Judge Cecil Campbell was the board’s attorney. Campbell currently prosecutes felony domestic abuse cases for the DA’s office. “Not surprisingly”, the lawyer continues in his brief, “the majority of rulings favored Sentell and/or the appointing authority. He went so far to say that some of the rulings were “absolutely contrary to law”.
He doesn’t bother to enumerate those adverse rulings, and indeed, the board ruled that the city had acted without just cause and changed the termination to a 90 day suspension.
A few days later the board met and changed the ruling to read that the city had acted with just cause. Board member Lt. Jimmie Stewart said that he misspoke when he made the motion and Board Chairman James Huckabay said that he misheard it.
On February 25th the City of Bossier City filed suit against Vernon and the Civil Service Board to overturn their ruling and enforce the termination.
On February 26th Vernon filed suit to overturn the decision of the Civil Service Board and for reinstatement.
The two suits were combined.
Various briefs and filings were made, among the notable claims by Vernon was that the Civil Service Board provided incomplete and spliced tape recordings and transcripts of the proceedings.
The City maintains that the ruling of the board stands on its own. The city offers state law in support.
  • La. R.S. 33:2478(A)(3):  The board shall not be required to have the testimony taken and transcribed, but either the employee or the appointing authority may, at their own expense, make the necessary arrangements therefor. In such cases the board shall name any competent shorthand reporter as the official reporter. If the testimony is not taken or transcribed, then the board shall make a written finding of fact.
In other words, if Vernon’s lawyer didn’t arrange for a reporter to make a transcript, then none was made and the ruling of the board serves as official record.
There is an attempt by Vernon’s lawyer to make a ‘conspiracy’ case, just as he is doing in the Chubby Knight case.
Chief Halphen, Lt. Stockton, Cpl. Murray Wells and Judge Campbell all were complicit in this conspiracy against his client. By extension, Reserve Officer Fisher would be too, since at the Civil Service hearing he did not change his statement that the alleged threat was made in the car.
[Disclaimer: Nearly everyone who reads the blog knows that Officer Murray Wells is my son. Despite that fact, and despite the fact that Vernon’s lawyer has made statements to the media and in court filings that my son is not being truthful, I am trying to present this in as factual a manner as possible.]
In another brief, the lawyer waxes eloquent, describing the actions of the Bossier City Fire & Police Civil Service Board in what he says are the words of Nazi henchman and Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels.
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
As I stated in a previous post, Judge Parker Self will issue a ruling on the merits of the above case within the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, Vernon has filed another suit for reinstatement and compensatory damages. The main difference in the suits is that the new one includes all attorney fees and costs.


  1. Guess the quote means if the City of Bossier keeps covering up THEIR lie long enough, their hopes would be the citizens of Bossier will beleive them!

    Vernon is right and has been from the beginning! The only mistake he made was not having his audio recording on from the time he placed Sentell in handcuffs until the time he was at the booking desk!

    Your "honest" police officer son back dated his report... saw that in the public records!!

  2. Commenter, it's a shame that you think the best defense is to attack everyone else involved.

  3. By the way, my son isn't "honest", he's honest.

  4. Anonymous really needs to learn how to spell before acting like a donkey on a blog.

    Believe in the miracle of Christmas, Jim! LOL!

  5. Anon@4:39

    Was the report "backdated" because a records clerk didn't enter it in the same day? Since Murray was working a part time and does not have an MDB, he probably hand wrote the report, which means it had to be typed in later by a clerk. The time stamp on the report will be when the clerk entered it, not when he wrote it, which could explain the difference in dates.

  6. Anon @ 7:46,

    You damn good and well the dumb asses like Anon @ 4:39 knows more about police work and how it functions than the police officers. Just ask him and the ilk like him.

  7. If you are gonna make an accusation or call into question someone's character, you should at least use a name instead of hiding behind Anonymous. I discount any comment made about someones character or an accusation from someone hiding behind Anonymous. That goes for "Bossier city being the most corrupt police dept and the south." You can't make an accusation and not back it up.

  8. Darrell@10:33
    It has been mentioned before on this blog some people that know things can not state their name due to the possibility of retaliation...think Sentell.

  9. So how does the character of the arresting officer affect this case. Was he an eyewitness to what occurred in the transport vehicle? If not why attack his character?

  10. I'm trying to figure out how in the Sam Hill the first Anonymous characters' comment relates to the post.

    It's just a run-down of events.

    And, as to the "anonymous for the sake of fearing no retribution" deal. Okay, I understand that. But I only have grace for it when someone has valuable information to add anonymously.

    But, when somebody hides behind "anonymous" just to throw rocks at somebody...well, that's what I call "chicken shit."

    Jeepers...some people!

  11. Andy, my thought exactly about posting anonomously. I just hadn't figured out how best to put it into words.

  12. Officer Wells is a fantastic police officer. I have worked with him on several occassions, and he is a honorable man. To call into question Officer Well's character is just not responsible. I know that people will say that I am just saying this because that is Jim's son, but that is not the case. I knew officer Wells long before I knew Jim. There is no finer police officer on that department in my opionion.

  13. Darrell, you gots mo' class than I duz.

    Mike: I have never met Officer Wells, even though I am a friend of his father. I believe I will trust the word of people that actually know the man, and have worked with him over hit and run Anons.

  14. The whole thing is silly because Sentell did not committ a crime. More should be done to stop over- zealous police officers. Luckily for Sentell he had big time connections. Most of us do not, and suffer as a result.

  15. Jim
    My Grandfather proudly carried badge #1 with the Alexandria Police Department after he retired .I know how these things can be politically twisted, because I clearly remember some of his comments. He had several instances where those he arrested had friends in high places. His honesty and ethics always let him come out on top. I hope your son continues on his path and truth wins out...

  16. Andy, Mike, Darrell & Alex - thank you.

  17. @Anon 1215... How in the Sam Hill can you call this "whole thing silly because Sentell did not committ a crime". Did you NOT watch the video of him taking his wife by both arms, then by the back of the head and pushing her against a wall?

    I guess all you good-ole boys must beat your wives if you find this man was "innocent". And the blogger's son obviously thought he committed a crime as well because HE was the arresting officer - NOT the one who transported him to jail, NOT the one who is being crucified by all you people.

    Sentell was given a "pass" according to Marvin's statement in the Minden-Press Herald. Ya know, kinda like a "free pass".

    Sentell was lucky for two reasons - he had a wife who was terrified of him and he had his connections. Most abusive men do have some kind of connections and get away with crap like that. Most women are just like his wife - too scared to be out on their own and too scared of what he would do to her if she left.

    You people are real works of art!

  18. I'm so glad last anon made that comment. That's exactly what I was thinking.

    I have nothing to do with police work and have no idea how all that works, but I have been around battered women. I watched my father grab my mother around the neck just like that DA guy did. That's how it started any way. It became far worse over the years. The last memory of my father was me watching him chase my mother thru the backyard with a shotgun.

    Funny thing is, this happened in Bossier City in the late 70s. They never did anything about it then. In fact, my father had no connections at all - exept for a bunch of good-ole boys who said something like "what did you do to make him mad".

    It hacks me off that someone would even post their ignorance on a public site. Grow up!

  19. "I guess all you good-ole boys must beat your wives if you find this man was "innocent".
    I don't know that anyone has said he was innocent. This post isn't about the domestic abuse charge, but about the public indtimidation charge.
    Good attempt to get it off course, but it didn't work.

  20. My name is Jennifer:

    Anonymous said...The whole thing is silly because Sentell did not committ a crime. More should be done to stop over- zealous police officers. Luckily for Sentell he had big time connections. Most of us do not, and suffer as a result. December 7, 2010 12:03 PM

    *** That was the post I was referring to. Yes, on YOUR blog! ****

    There would've never been a pubic intimidation charge if he hadn't commited the first crime in the first place. Obviously, your son thought he HAD committed a crime or he would not have arrested him. Had he not been arrested, he would've never had to have been transported to the jail. Had he not have been transported to the jail, there may have never been threats made against the officers' jobs.

    The only things I know about what's going on is what I've seen on television, read in the newspaer and what's on this site. But I AM smart enough to put some things together. What seems to be the case is the ADA made a mistake and instead of owning up to that mistake, he took advantage of a police officer who's only mistake, to me, seems to be that he didn't leave his dash cam recorder on until he had the guy at the printing desk.

    Sentell committed a CRIME - Domestic Abuse Battery. I believe that's in the Louisiana Revised Statutes. He should've paid for it, but instead he had his good-'ole boys get him out of trouble. He is the ONLY criminal in this case - not Ofcr. Vernon and not Reserve Ofcr. Fisher

    And, by the way, my name is Jennifer. I live in South Bossier and have all my life! I'm just not going to give you my email address. I'm sure the good 'ole boys would find me and try to have me fired too.

    Have a nice evening.

  21. You're still trying to change the subject. What about the blog post that these comments are about? Have anything to add that is relevant to what I posted?

  22. There was “no merit to the allegations worthy of prosecution” against Sentell. There was no crime committed. In Louisiana you can resist an illegal arrest and detention. I also think there is still freedom of speech? The actions of the police were illegal and there is no cause of action in the lawsuits filed.

  23. Was Sentel told by an officer to walk away? If so and he didn't comply with an officers order, and by working for the DAs office, he knows the next stop is jail.

  24. Sorry Jim, that was outside the lines of this post. You can delete it.

  25. Darrell, you're fine. It was a legitimate comment, not designed to take attention away from the subject at hand.

  26. This is Jennifer from South Bossier again...

    In response to Jim's last comment that I was 'changing the subject'...

    I believe all of my comments were pertinent to the whole conversation as the title simply says "Update on Vernon Case".

    You all are the ones that are picking it apart to be about one or two sentences in a police report or one or two comments audible on a tape. You are not taking in the WHOLE picture. I have read about this case for hours online and in the newspaper just because I have found it so intriguing.

    This blog really seems more like a bunch of school bullies picking on the underdog instead of opinions based on facts.

  27. Jennifer, your comments are very welcome. Just about everyone gets challenged when they comment, just as I get challenged on what I blog and comment.
    Stick with what you believe, don't let anyone back you down.

  28. Jim that quote is a mirror to Phillip Vernon, well put. Vernon is a liar plain and simple. Good for you Jim for stating the facts in the case, and not just bad mouthing Bossier City and the DAs office.

  29. Phillip Vernon is done being a cop and lying. Officer Wells is a good man, everyone should leave him alone.
    Reserve officer Fisher was correct, he believed along with Vernon that Sentell committed public intimidation, but that was not the case. Instead of lying about it Fisher stuck to what he believed.

    Vernon is a liar, looks like he posted the first comment on this site, he gets home about that time.

    Judge Self is a good man and a good judge, he will make a good decision.

  30. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  31. Okay, that's a little too much.

  32. The Lawyer must be an idiot because Goebbels never said that, it was falsely attributed to him by Soviet and British propaganda during WW2

  33. Anon @ 9:29- His attorney is Joel Pierce. He is an idiot. I'm pretty sure the only thing he paid attention to in law school was the "conspiracy" defense. It seems to be all he knows, ie: Vernon and Chubby Knight. His poor clients, they're all victims.

  34. Where is Sherb Sentell hiding out now that the case has been heard by the State Supreme Court?


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