Police officer appeals decision to fire him

By Fred Childers – bio|email

BENTON, LA (KSLA) –  "…extremely unfair, I was there, I know what was said," said Bossier City Police Officer, Philip Vernon after an appeal hearing at the Bossier Parish Court House.

And it's the discrepancy over what was said when Bossier Prosecutor, Sherb Sentell was on his way to jail, following an altercation at a casino, that is at the heart of Vernon's termination.

Today (Monday) the battle played out in Bossier District Court where Vernon's attorney, Joel Pearce appealed the decision.

"They've proven to be a very effective opponent, a very effective adversary," said Pearce moments after the hearing concluded.

Vernon wrote in a report that his job was directly threatened by Sentell,  his then- boss Chief Mike Halphen said that was false- and the city fired him.

"The board initially found that the city acted without just cause and two weeks later they went to just cause," said Vernon.

Throughout this process Vernon was eventually reinstated, however he was relegated to desk duty, and has a 90 day suspension on his record. His attorney Joel Pearce says those were punitive measures, and he argues they were unfair.

"All of them are designed to create a hostile working environment so that he would eventually leave his employment," said Pearce.

"I want to be on the streets and do my job, I've done good my entire career, made the right choices," said Vernon.

Pearce says whatever happens with the appeal, the city can expect a lawsuit to be filed for retaliatory discharge.

"We will be able to get many things out that we could not get out, and we'll be able to get them out under oath, and I think that is going to blow this case wide open," said Pearce.

in about two hours Judge Self heard arguments from both sides.

Michael Blow who represents the city declined comment on camera, citing a pending legal decision - a decision expected to be handed down within 30 days.

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