Lawsuit Against City of Broussard, Police Department Moved to Federal Court
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected to reflect that the lawsuit was filed against the city of Broussard and the Broussard Police Department and NOT former police chief Brannon Decou. It has also been corrected to clarify that Taylor Jones resigned from the Broussard Police Department.
A federal judge will hear the sexual harassment case stemming from allegations against Broussard's former police chief.
A federal magistrate signed an order moving the lawsuit against the city of Broussard and the Broussard Police Department from the 15th Judicial District Court to the federal court. This decision came after the attorney representing the city of Broussard made a request to have the case moved from the state court to the federal Western District of Louisiana court.
According to the Advocate, attorney Eve Masinter asked a federal judge for the change after the lawyer for Taylor Jones claimed in a court filing that her client's civil rights may have been violated.
As we reported last year, Jones accuses Decou of sending him sexually suggestive text messages and photographs while Jones was employed in the Broussard Police Department. Jones told us last year that he provided screenshots of the text messages to his superiors on the day he resigned from his job. Decou retired from office on June 1, 2021, amid the scandal. His deputy chief, Chris Galvez, was fired on May 11, 2021, for failure to take action on complaints about Decou's alleged actions filed by the department's officers.
Jones is seeking damages for lost wages, mental anguish, anxiety, emotional distress, embarrassment, and pain and suffering.
A law firm that investigated the allegations found that Decou violated the city's sexual harassment policy. As Mayor Ray Bourque described it in May 2021, the investigation "corroborated" our and other media outlets' reports. However, the investigation found that Decou's actions were not illegal.
According to the Daily Advertiser, a second lawsuit filed by a former Broussard police officer who claimed that he was forced to resign after reporting alleged sexual harassment by department leadership was dismissed.