NAACP leader files lawsuit about Lafayette fire board member’s Facebook post _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Marja Broussard leads a press conference being held by the Lafayette chapter of the NAACP on Tuesday evening at Imani Temple #49 in Lafayette. The meeting was called to bring attention to concerns the group has relating to members of the Lafayette Police Department.

A Lafayette woman is asking for a judge’s order that the Lafayette Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board investigate one of its members for alleged political speech on Facebook.

Marja Broussard, who leads Lafayette’s NAACP chapter, accused board Vice Chairman Guy LeBreton of posting, and then deleting, a video on his personal Facebook page called “Two Democrats on an escalator.”

The video, which originated as a commercial for a Canadian margarine company but was cut, retitled and posted to YouTube, shows a black man and white woman frantically calling for help from an escalator that stopped working.

LeBreton shared the video on Aug. 13 with the comment, “How can any fine Republican not share this? Great stuff,” according to a screen shot of the post attached to Broussard’s Feb. 24 complaint filed with the board.

Broussard said in the complaint that LeBreton’s comment “is stereotypical of the proverbial Southern bigot,” later adding that people with such views “have no place as public figures in society, particularly when it concerns the overall public.”

LeBreton did not respond to a message seeking comment Thursday afternoon.

Broussard also said she first filed the complaint on Feb. 16, but the board lost it. She alleges LeBreton deleted the post sometime between the filings of her first and second complaint.

The petition filed in 15th Judicial District Court on Tuesday cites a Louisiana law that prohibits political activities by classified employees, with an emphasis on a section that prohibits classified employees from serving on political committees, making political speech or public statements on behalf of any candidate or taking part in the “management or affairs of any political party” or candidate “except to privately express his opinion and to cast his vote.”

The statute outlines how boards can investigate employees who violate the terms.

Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.