Former Monroe PD interim-chief suing polygraphist over termination
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A former high-ranking member of the Monroe Police Department has filed a civil suit against the examiner who conducted his polygraph test prior to his termination from the force last year.
According to documents obtained by KNOE 8 News, former interim-chief Reginald Brown accuses examiner Cecil Foster Carter, Jr. of negligence and breach of duty after Brown says he was forced to take a polygraph test in October of 2020.
Brown says the failed exam led to his wrongful termination a month later and, citing the Louisiana Polygraphist Act, says he shouldn’t have been forced to take it. According to the lawsuit, the act states that it is an examiner’s duty to inform subjects the test must be taken voluntarily and refusal shall not infer guilt nor can it be used as a justification for termination.
Brown says Carter should have properly informed him of that information or should have stopped the test altogether. Now he wants monetary damages to make up for loss of earnings, emotional distress and mental anguish as the result of his firing.
The documents were filed on Oct. 12, 2021, in the 4th Judicial District Court in Ouachita Parish. Named in the lawsuit are Carter, his company Scientific Investigative Services of Louisiana, Inc., and their insurance company.
Brown served as interim chief of Monroe police for under a year until the 2020 election of current mayor Friday Ellis. After the election, Mayor Ellis replaced Brown, who remained on the force. Questions arose over Brown’s prior handling of an investigation into an alleged case of police brutality involving Monroe police officer Jared Desadier. That eventually led to Brown’s polygraph examination.
In the lawsuit, Brown says he was forced to take part in the polygraph examination and sign a consent form saying he was participating voluntarily, even though he objected to participation. Brown says he was told by another officer that his participation in the examination was ordered by the chief of police and failure to do so would result in unspecified consequences.
Brown says he signed the form “under protest” and took part in the exam, but says it was clear he was being forced to participate. Brown’s attorney previously said the forced participation upset Brown, which could affect the results of the test. Polygraph results are not admissible as evidence under Louisiana Supreme Court law due to their unreliability.
In addition to damages, the lawsuit also asks for attorney’s fees and interest.
Brown has appealed his termination. A hearing on possible reinstatement is scheduled for later in October 2021.
During a meeting in July, Brown’s attorneys tried to get Carter’s testimony excluded from future consideration with attorney Carol Powell Lexing saying, “We know throughout the land that the U.S. Supreme Court has already said that polygraph tests are unreliable.”
The move to exclude that testimony was unsuccessful. Brown’s team plans to bring in their own polygraphist to dispute Carter’s findings.
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