A Lafayette Police officer who was placed on desk duty and relieved of SWAT duty by police officials months after the Fire and Police Civil Service Board suspended him for one day for yanking a handcuffed, hog-tied woman from his vehicle by an ankle chain, wants the board to place him back on patrol.
Jeremy Robert, represented by Lafayette attorney Allyson Prejean, is asking the board at a meeting Wednesday to consider his appeal of the order placing him on desk duty, which Prejean alleges in the appeal letter deprives Robert of income from off-duty security assignments. The board will not hear the appeal Wednesday, just decide whether it will entertain the appeal at a later date.
Robert arrested the woman on April 10, 2020, and placed her in the back seat of his police SUV. The woman became distraught, banging her head and feet against the door and seat in front of her.
Body camera video obtained by The Acadiana Advocate shows Robert eventually hog-tying the woman, chaining her handcuffs to her restrained ankles, then yanking her out of the SUV, allowing her chin to slam onto the floorboard and concrete street where she lay bleeding.
The civil service board suspended Robert for one day without pay. About 30 days later, after seeing the video of the incident, Mayor-President Josh Guillory ordered then interim Police Chief Scott Morgan to terminate Robert for use of excessive force.
Robert appealed and the civil service board unanimously overruled Guillory's termination order. Guillory filed a lawsuit asking the court to overturn the civil service board's decision to overrule the firing of Robert.
The lawsuit alleges the Fire and Police Civil Service Board's decision "was not made in good faith or for good cause" and the court should find Guillory's action compliant with the Police Officers Bill of Rights, upholding Robert's termination.
Prejean maintained that firing Robert after he had already been disciplined amounts to double jeopardy since the civil service board had already disciplined Robert and he had served the ordered suspension.
A hearing date on the lawsuit has not been scheduled.
Meanwhile, Robert returned to patrol duty, serving in that capacity from Sept. 16, 2020, until Jan. 7, 2021, when he was advised verbally by three superior officers that he was being transferred to desk duty and removed from SWAT duty, Prejean said in the appeal letter.
"The reason provided," she wrote, "was the chief (presumably new Guillory appointee T. Glover) thought he (Officer Robert) was 'a liability'" due to the pending lawsuit. No written order or explanation was provided, despite requests, Prejean wrote.
Placing Robert on desk duty, she alleges, is the third time he is being disciplined for a single event.