FROM CITY CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION ORLEANS NO. 8735
Vincent Boshea ATTORNEY AT LAW COUNSEL FOR
Elizabeth Robins DEPUTY CITY ATTORNEY Renee Goudeau ASSISTANT
CITY ATTORNEY Sunni J. LeBeouf CITY ATTORNEY COUNSEL FOR
composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Roland L. Belsome,
Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins
L. Belsome, Judge.
Rhett Charles, appeals the judgment of the Civil Service
Commission (Commission) which sustained his demotion and
one-day suspension by the New Orleans Police Department
(NOPD). For the following reasons, we affirm the
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
a twenty-eight year veteran, worked as a sergeant for the
NOPD. In 2016, he supervised at least fourteen officers in
the Alternative Police Response (APR Unit). During that time,
he engaged in a series of sexually inappropriate
conversations with two of his subordinate female employees:
Officer Shannon Reeves and Officer Nicole Alcala.
receiving a complaint regarding Appellant's behavior, the
NOPD initiated a Public Integrity Bureau investigation. The
investigation was assigned to Sergeant Christopher Johnson.
At the conclusion of the investigation, Sergeant Johnson
found that Appellant violated the NOPD's Rules
and 4 concerning professional conduct and
neglect of duty. In accordance with these findings,
discipline was recommended.
the disciplinary hearing, the NOPD issued a one-day
suspension and demotion for the violations. As a result,
Appellant filed an appeal with the Commission. After a
hearing, the Commission sustained the NOPD's disciplinary
decision and denied the appeal. This appeal followed.
appellate court is to apply the clearly wrong or manifestly
erroneous standard of review when reviewing the
Commission's factual findings. Bannister v. Dep't
of Streets, 95-0404, p. 8 (La. 1/16/96), 666 So.2d 641,
647 (citing Walters v. Dep't of Police of the City of
New Orleans, 454 So.2d 106 (La. 1984)). When
"evaluating the Commission's determination as to
whether the disciplinary action is both based on legal cause
and commensurate with the infraction, the court should not
modify the Commission's order unless it is arbitrary,
capricious, or characterized by abuse of discretion."
Id. A decision by the Commission is "arbitrary
or capricious" when there is no rational basis for the
action taken. Id.
asserts three assignments of error, concerning two issues:
the sufficiency of the evidence and the disciplinary action.
The first issue is whether the NOPD established the
violations by a preponderance of the evidence. The second
issue is whether ...