Former GPD Officer Moses Black wins appeal

Greg Fischer
Attorney Chris Alexander speaks in defense of Moses Black at the Gonzales Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board March 8, 2017

The Gonzales Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board met on March 8, 2017 for the public hearing of former Gonzales Police Officer Moses Black.

Black was appealing a 90-day suspension without pay on December 8, 2015 for being 45 minutes tardy to a library detail, according to attorney J. Christopher "Chris" Alexander.

The board had a quorum, in the absence of attorney Karl Scott. Moreover, it was Vice-Chairman Darren Cagnolatti's final hearing. 

"Trust me when I tell you that the decision of this board will be their true and heart-full opinion after listening to all their testimonies," Chairman Blanchard Braud said to begin the hearing.

Alexander thanked the board and congratulated Cagnolatti before he began.

"I want to thank y'all for being here very much," he said. "Congratulations to you, as well. This may be a very good one for you to end on. It's great to see y'all."

The board came to their decision based on procedural grounds. Although, Alexander promised to take it further into substantive actions and testimony if the board did not see that procedurally, Black was not treated fairly by the Gonzales Police Department.

Under the Louisiana Police Officer's Bill of Rights, an officer under investigation for misconduct must be given an opportunity for a pre-disciplinary hearing once an investigation into the case has been completed.

Miranda Mumphrey, the attorney representing the police department, argued that the hearing took place in the form of an initial interview, which the defense proved merely notified Black that he was under investigation.

To compound matters, Black was terminated from the GPD near the end of 2016 for reasons he disputes. 

Attorney Adrian Carter Ross, also representing Black, has been mentored by Alexander for two years. She even refers to herself as a "baby lawyer." She was tremendously excited for Black after the board, consisting of Scott Hughes, officer Gerard C. Breaux, Cagnolatti and Braud ruled unanimously in his favor. 

"It's huge for him," Carter Ross said. "This is just a small piece of a way bigger picture that's going on here." 

The win may also serve as evidence that Carter Ross is growing as an attorney.

Follow Greg on Twitter @AscensionEditor