Former interim Monroe Police Chief Reginald “Reggie” Brown wants subpoenas issued to 34 people including former Mayor Jamie Mayo and the district attorney to testify in a hearing where he will appeal his termination from the police department.
Now-Monroe Police Chief Vic Zordan fired Brown last November, claiming Brown purposefully waited until after the city’s mayoral election last July before asking authorities to investigate an excessive force complaint against some of the department’s officers.
Early last year, Timothy Williams complained that then-Monroe Police Cpl. Jared DeSadier beat him and kicked him while he was lying, handcuffed, face-down on the ground during an arrest. DeSadier resigned from the department and now faces felony charges of malfeasance in office and second-degree battery.
According to a Nov. 23, 2020 letter terminating Brown’s employment, Brown waited to act on Williams’ complaint for personal gain. At the time, Brown was serving as the department’s interim police chief. He was appointed to that position by Mayo, who was seeking re-election.
Mayo was unseated by local businessman Friday Ellis, who captured more than 50 percent of the vote in the July mayoral primary. After taking office, Ellis removed Brown as interim chief and eventually appointed Zordan.
Brown appealed his termination to the Monroe Municipal Fire & Police Civil Service Board. The Civil Service Board has scheduled an appeal hearing for April 29.
“That’s a tentative date,” said Civil Service Board Chairman Hardeman Cordell during the board’s regular meeting on Tuesday.
The Civil Service Board is a quasi-judicial body that has the authority to issue subpoenas, hear testimony from witnesses and more, according to Monroe attorney Elmer Noah. Noah serves as the Civil Service Board’s legal counsel. Noah told The Ouachita Citizen the Civil Service Board had the discretion to decide who was issued a subpoena.
The Civil Service Board is expected to consider Brown’s request for 34 subpoenas at its regular meeting in March.
“That’s when we’ll decide how we move forward,” said Dr. Craig Turner, a Civil Service Board member.
In a Feb. 12 letter to the Civil Service Board, Brown’s attorney asked the board to issue 34 subpoenas. Brown is represented by Monroe attorney Carol Lexing.
Brown’s attorney said her client wished to subpoena Ellis and several people from the mayor’s administration to question them about their involvement in an administrative investigation of Brown.
For example, Brown’s attorney claimed the city’s attorneys, Angie Sturdivant and Brandon Creekbaum, were the complainants in the city’s administrative investigation of Brown.
According to Zordan’s November 2020 letter, Sturdivant and Creekbaum recommended that Brown refer Williams’ complaint to State Police for investigation. Referring an investigation about Monroe police officers to State Police would ensure transparency and accountability, according to Brown’s reported understanding of the attorneys’ request.
“You knew the Williams matter was a very serious case and possible improper exercise of police force against a civilian,” stated Zordan’s letter terminating Brown’s employment. “Likewise, you purposely delayed contacting the LSP (Louisiana State Police) and sending the Williams’ matter to the LSP because of a mayoral election in order to protect your own, personal interests in becoming the Chief of Police.”
Brown declined to refer the complaint to State Police because the department’s detectives could open their own investigation, according to the letter. The letter also claimed Brown declined to heed the attorneys’ advice because his authority, as interim police chief, gave him the discretion to do so.
Two days after the mayoral election in which Mayo lost his re-election bid to Ellis, Brown made an about face and referred the Williams complaint to State Police.
In his Feb. 12 letter, Brown’s attorney also requested copies of all emails and correspondence between Sturdivant, Creekbaum and state Rep. Michael Echols, who is a close ally of Ellis’ and a former member of the Monroe City Council. Brown also sought copies of emails between Echols and several city officials pertaining to the Williams’ investigation as well. Brown did not ask the Civil Service Board to issue a subpoena to Echols.
In another instance, Brown’s attorney appeared to claim that Ellis’ secretary, Lynda McMahan, acted on Ellis’ behalf by trying to interfere with testimony in the city’s administrative investigation of Brown.
Brown’s attorney also sought subpoenas of individuals who could shed light on Brown’s Internal Affairs investigation as well as the investigation of the Williams complaint against DeSadier and others.
Brown wanted to subpoena Mayo to speak “regarding his leadership as the appointing authority, and his knowledge of the Timothy Williams excessive force complaint and criminal investigation.”
“Further, Chief Brown will elicit testimony from Mayor Mayo regarding his role and responsibility as Mayor of the City of Monroe, the role(s) of the City Attorney per city charter and the precedent he has consistently set throughout his 20 years as Mayor regarding the role of the city attorney and each city department head,” stated Brown’s letter.
Though he was mentioned several times in the letter, Zordan was not listed among the 34 individuals to whom subpoenas might be sent. Zordan was the person who terminated Brown and outlined the allegations that Brown concealed the Williams complaint for political gain.
Brown wanted to question Cordell, the Civil Service Board’s chairman, about the board’s “unlawful release” of his termination letter.
Brown’s attorney wanted to issue a subpoena to Fourth Judicial District Attorney Steve Tew to question the district attorney about his knowledge of Williams’ excessive force complaint and the city’s handling of the investigation.
“Further, District Attorney Steve Tew will be able to provide testimony regarding the circumstances involving the request for assistance made to the Louisiana State Police that was denied regarding the Timothy Williams excessive force investigation,” stated Brown’s letter.
The city of Monroe is expected to file a motion to quash some of the subpoenas sought by Brown.
The individuals sought through subpoenas included Ellis, retired Monroe Police Chief Eugene Ellis, Louisiana State Police Investigator Hank Smith, Monroe Assistant City Attorney Brandon Creekbaum, Monroe City Attorney Angie Sturdivant, Johnson, Monroe Police Cpl. Chris Turner, Monroe Police Sgt. Tim Antley, Monroe Police Cpl. Terrence Ervin, Monroe Police Cpl. Derik Daniels, Monroe Police Sgt. Michael Fendall, Monroe Police Sgt. Sean Reddick, Monroe Police Maj. Mary Ann Tellis, Monroe Police Assistant Police Chief Don Bartley, State Police Capt. John Peters, former Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, Monroe Police Cpl. Duane Cookson, Monroe police payroll clerk Sonya Muse, Monroe Police Officer Joshua Rachow, Monroe Police Maj. Vincent Guiterrez, Monroe police records clerk Erica Saulsberry, Monroe Police chief’s secretary Kecia Hamilton, Ellis’ secretary Lynda McMahan, Cecil Carter Jr. with Scientific Investigative Service of Louisiana Inc., of Shreveport, State Police Lt. Col. Bob Brown, Lt. Brant Heath, Monroe Police Sgt. Kris Fulmer, Monroe Police Det. Matt Schmitz, Civil Service Board chairman Hardeman Cordell, Monroe Police Maj. Roderick Jackson, Lt. Thomas Staten, former Monroe City Attorney Nanci Summersgill, Fourth Judicial District Attorney Steve Tew, and Alexandria attorney Steven Oxenhandler.
Meanwhile, former Monroe Police Sgt. Charles “Chuck” Johnson, who also was fired last November, is appealing his termination, too.
Johnson was serving as the department’s public information officer, under Brown, at the time when Williams filed his excessive force complaint.
Johnson is represented by Ball attorney Joseph Beck III.
In his Feb. 5 letter to the Civil Service Board, Johnson asked the board to issue five subpoenas to the following individuals: State Police Investigator Hank Smith, State Police Lt. Col. Bob Brown, Monroe Police Maj. Vincent Guiterrez, Monroe Police Det. Reggie Brown, and Monroe Police Sgt. Craig Honeycutt.
Johnson’s appeal hearing is set for May 4.