Saturday, January 22 2022

A federal judge has launched a wrongful dismissal lawsuit filed by a former high-ranking Harahan police officer against the city and the county.

Keith Moody sued the police department saying he was fired in June 2020 after complaining to the mayor and chief of police about the perception of some on the force that the tickets could be “fixed”.

U.S. District Judge Wendy Vitter dismissed the first of Moody’s claims in August and dismissed the other two last month, granting the defense motion to dismiss his claims that he suffered retaliation and that his whistleblower protection had been raped.

The prosecution of Moody, the No. 2 officer in the department under Police Chief Tim Walker since 2019, has called for his reinstatement in his full-pay position, just over $ 50,000 a year. He also claimed pecuniary damages.

The city claims it fired Moody for his testimony at a public service hearing of another officer, where it emerged that he had been charged as a US Navy with conduct unbecoming an officer, in part for using his military status to boost his business as a real estate broker.

When asked why he never disclosed this, he replied that it was because he had never been convicted of anything, then added: “I have probably been charged. , advising, on everything from capital murder and manslaughter to false singing and drunk driving. “

Moody would later say that he “was shaken up” during the interrogation and that he was not proud of his performance. Walker and other city officials weren’t either, and with further questions raised on his resume, Moody was fired.

Keith ‘Maddog’ Moody, assistant to the dismissed Harahan police chief, sues to get his job back

In the lawsuit, Moody claimed he was fired because of a post he posted on the police department’s Facebook page – which Moody largely handled himself – the day after meeting with Walker , Mayor Tim Baudier and others.

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In the post, Moody, known for his inflammatory messages, wrote that “what we post here may be offensive to a few politicians, criminals or snowflakes”, which he promised to “defend the Constitution against ALL enemies, foreigners and DOMESTIC “, and that it” would fight repression, oppression and be TRANSPARENT towards our community regarding security and criminal activity “.

Moody argued the post was First Amendment protected speech and the matter was of public interest.

In his ruling, Vitter wrote that although Moody claimed to have more evidence, the only thing he complained about during the meeting with Walker and Baudier was that a ticket issued to a specific person could no longer be found in the system. and that there was a perception in the department that people could get tickets for $ 100.

Keith ‘Maddog’ Moody’s downfall: how Harahan’s ex-deputy police chief’s past caught up with him

Vitter also noted that the post made no mention of fixing tickets or wrongdoing.

“Indeed, the format and content of the social media post, including the capitalization of certain words and the use of a derogatory word, further confirms that this was only the declamation of an individual, ”she wrote.

Moody’s attorney, Dale Edward Williams, said on Friday that he and Moody respected the judge’s decision and the process, but were considering appealing.

Baudier, the mayor, said on Monday that ticket forgery is illegal and does not occur in Harahan. He said Moody was trying to confuse the city’s diversion program with “fix” tickets, which he said was “a great buzzword and I guess he tried to use it” .

“He was trying to be a whistleblower and the only person he spoke out about was himself, and that was during the public service hearing where he went mad,” he said.

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