The Monroe Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board agreed Tuesday to extend the period during which eight Monroe Police officers will remain on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of internal affairs investigations.
When the Civil Service Board convened its regular meeting, the board planned to consider extending the leave period for four officers: Joshua Rachow, Lt. Tommy Crowson, Sgt. James Thigpen, and Maj. Vincent Guiterrez. Civil Service Board Chairman Hardeman Cordell asked the board to consider placing four more officers on administrative leave.
“There have been some additions,” Cordell said.
The four additional officers placed on administrative leave included Cpl. Tim Crum, Robert Simms II, Sgt. Timothy Antley, and Cpl. Reggie Brown. Brown previously served as the department’s interim police chief. Antley is the president of the local police union.
Monroe attorney Elmer Noah, who serves as the Civil Service Board’s legal counsel, said the city usually placed officers on leave without any explanation other than “pending an investigation.”
City documents obtained by The Ouachita Citizen show Rachow was placed on administrative leave at the same time as former police Cpl. Jared DeSadier, who faced felony charges of malfeasance in office and second-degree battery. DeSadier was accused of using excessive force in the arrest of Timothy Williams. Later, the city released body cam video footage that appeared to show DeSadier kicking Williams in the face while the subject was lying face down on the ground, with his hands behind his back. DeSadier resigned from the force in late July.
Rachow and DeSadier were placed on leave on July 6. Crowson and Thigpen were placed on leave on July 18. Guiterrez was placed on leave on July 20. Brown, the former interim police chief, was placed on leave on Sept. 10.
Monroe Police Det. Michael Fendall, the department’s public information officer, could not offer a comment about the reasons for the disciplinary actions by the time The Ouachita Citizen went to press Tuesday night. Fendall sent an email Tuesday evening stating that, contrary to reporting by other media outlets, Antley, Crum and Simms were not on administrative leave for any reason related to the police brutality case involving Williams.
On another front, the Civil Service Board upheld Monroe Fire Chief Terry Williams’ decision to terminate the employment of Monroe Fire Department driver Metchel Williams.
Monroe Fire arson investigator ShaBroderick Jones argued that Terry Williams did not err by firing Metchel Williams because of her violation of the department’s sick leave policy and truthfulness during an internal affairs investigation policy.
According to Jones, Metchel Williams was accused of attending classes at Grambling State University in Grambling while also on sick leave.
“Her response was, ‘It had nothing to do with Monroe Fire Department,’” Jones said. “She claimed she was attending online college courses.”
The department’s internal affairs investigation discovered she was attending school at Grambling State on campus on Feb. 11, while still on sick leave. Internal affairs investigators captured photos of her in a classroom after she claimed she was not attending classes on campus. Grambling State’s admissions department provided MFD with documentation showing Williams was registered to attend classes at the university.
Under the department’s policy, lying or a failure to be truthful was grounds for termination.
In support of her appeal on Tuesday, Metchel Williams provided Civil Service Board members with a letter from her psychologist and argued she had undergone several surgeries and also suffered from “mental disturbances” that made her medically unable to resume full duty.
“Back in May 2016, I was hospitalized, I underwent several treatments for a disorder, that led to me being in and out of the hospital,” Metchel Williams said. “Myself and my family noticed some changes in my mood and behavior, so I did seek help of a psychologist, a counselor.”
In light of such mitigating factors, termination was excessive, she argued.
“I was not deliberately trying to be dishonest,” she said. “It wasn’t like I was trying to not get caught.”
“I’m not saying there should not be any disciplinary action, but that being my first incident, incidence, I don’t feel like termination was – termination was excessive,” she added.
After Metchel Williams’ remarks, Terry Williams spoke to defend his decision to terminate her employment.
“The fact of the matter is, she lied,” Terry Williams said.
According to Terry Williams, a firefighter works about 122 shifts a year. Terry Williams claimed Metchel Williams missed 34 shifts in 2016, 41 shifts in 2018, 77 shifts in 2019, and 48 shifts this year.
“So we very seldom see her,” Terry Williams said. “It’s obvious she just doesn’t want to work.”
Cordell, the Civil Service Board chairman, offered the motion to sustain Metchel Williams’ termination. Civil Service Board member Alfred Rayford seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.