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August 22 10:43 AM

Officer’s lawsuit places SPD brass under fire


Lou Burnett 

A lawsuit has been filed in Caddo District Court alleging that Shreveport Police Chief Willie Shaw and other high-ranking Shreveport Police Department officers knew about the incidents taking place at Fire Station No. 8 several weeks before the arrests of five firefighters.

The lawsuit, filed by SPD Detective Rod Demery, names Shaw individually and in his official capacity as chief of police of the city of Shreveport.

Demery, a decorated detective, was assigned by Shaw in July 2013 to investigate allegations of acts of prostitution at Fire Station 8.

The lawsuit states: “On or about Aug. 13, 2014, a credible witness voluntarily reported to the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office and advised the lead prosecutor, the FBI, the Louisiana State Police and Detective Demery that several weeks prior to the arrest of any of the five firefighters who worked at Fire Station No. 8, Shaw, Deputy Chief Duane Huddleston, Assistant Chief Chipper Hayes, Capt. Bill Offer and Lt.

Timothy Beckus had been personally advised about certain information regarding the prostitution incident, and the fire chief and other fire administration officials knew about the incident at Fire Station 8.

“Despite having specifically requested Detective Demery to investigate the incident at Fire Station 8, Shaw never told Detective Demery about the information provided to him about the prostitution incident at Fire Station 8.

“Despite receiving regular reports and supervising Detective Demery during the investigation, Capt. Offer never told Detective Demery this information.

None of these SPD officials ever told any of the investigators with any of the agencies investigating this matter about this information that they had learned in 2013 prior to any arrests. To the contrary, Shaw and Deputy Chief Huddleston had both claimed and testified under oath that they were only aware of a hypothetical situation posed by the fire chief.”

The lawsuit also states, “However, on Aug. 13, 2013, just hours after the witness provided information to all of the investigating agencies that indicate that Shaw, Deputy Chief Huddleston, Assistant Chief Hayes, Capt. Offer and Lt. Beckus may not have been honest and are now potential suspects in additional derivative crimes, and not long after Capt. Offer was subpoenaed to the grand jury and then suddenly retired, Det. Demery was notified that he was being transferred out of the Detectives Office and sent back to evening patrol.”

The lawsuit also alleges that several actions were taken by his superiors to discredit Demery.

Det. Demery alleges he has “suffered general compensatory damages, including but not limited to emotional damages, stress and embarrassment inflicted upon him by the City, Shaw, Capt. Offer, Deputy Chief Huddleston, Asst. Chief Hayes and Lt. Beckus in violation of the Louisiana Whistleblower Statues, and he is entitled to compensatory damages for same.”

There is much more to the story, which will certainly be revealed I due time, and the fallout could be significant. Suffice it to say that lawsuit will be interesting to follow.

Mayor Cedric Glover responded to the lawsuit with this statement: “The outstanding work that the men and women of the Shreveport Police Department cannot be attributed to one individual.

For the past three years, the statistics show that our homicide rates and overall rates of violent crimes have reached record lows. The fact is that this work is done in concert with other detectives and investigators, as well as patrol officers and, more importantly, citizens, community and faith leaders who are out here striving every day to help make our neighborhoods safer. So while the work that any one officer does is important and appreciated, he does not stand alone in the overall effort to make Shreveport a better and safer city.”

Editor's note from Danny Lawler: I spoke with Demery about the lawsuit in great detail this week and asked him what he expects to achieve out of it. He says he wants to finish the Fire Station No. 8 investigation. Demery said he has solved 54 murders in Shreveport — some of which were "unsolvable" — and he is working on a couple of cases that he wants to finish before being transferred out of the detective's division. He did say, however, that he is not blaming Chief Shaw for doing anything wrong, but he felt he merely wanted the new allegation to be investigated. I also questioned him about a similar lawsuit that he filed against his former employer and about newspaper articles that we had received on that lawsuit. He confirmed that he had filed that lawsuit and claims to have won it because they settled out of court. We have posted links to those news articles on our Web site at theinquisitor.com. The link  is:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2002&dat=19960721&id=k61UAAAAIBAJ&sjid=uTsNAAAAIBAJ&pg=1628,4085419

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