Lawsuit: Patterson officer fired over ticket quota
A former Patterson police officer is suing Patterson Police Chief Patrick LaSalle and the city, saying he was fired for failing to meet a quota for writing speeding tickets, according to St. Mary Parish Clerk of Court records.
Former Patterson Police Officer Keith Gallicio said in the lawsuit, filed this month in 16th Judicial District Court, that he was informed in a department meeting that he must write about 40 speeding tickets per month, or three per work day, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that on Feb. 7, 2014, Gallicio was suspended for failing to meet the quota.
On Monday, LaSalle said, “There’s a serious difference in regard to what his termination papers state and what the suit claims.”
LaSalle wouldn’t specify the reason for Gallicio’s firing.
As of Monday morning, LaSalle had not yet read the suit, and the suit had been turned over to the “proper channel,” he said.
The lawsuit also claims that “the City of Patterson never conducted an investigation, did not conduct a hearing nor did it conduct any type proceeding in which Gallicio could defend himself against the charges that he failed to write the prescribed number of tickets.”
The suit says that “by ordering Gallicio to meet a quota of writing speeding tickets and by firing him for his alleged failure to do violates Gallicio’s constitutionally protected rights to employment and his vested right of employment by dismissing him without due process.”
Mayor Rodney Grogan said that for his first four years as mayor, he did not know when officers were hired or fired until the city sued the state in order to declare unconstitutional a legislative act that gave all hiring and firing authority to the City of Patterson police chief. The state law went against the city’s charter, which gives all hiring and firing authority in the City of Patterson to the mayor, he said. The suit Grogan referred to was one the city filed in September 2014.
At the time Gallicio’s employment was terminated, Grogan was not aware of any hiring and firing of police department personnel, Grogan said.
The 16th Judicial District Court resolved the city’s suit against the state Dec. 4, 2014, when District Court Judge Lori Landry declared the legislative act in question invalid, Grogan said.
According to Gallicio’s suit, the City of Patterson and LaSalle are liable for violating Gallicio’s civil rights after “his failure to meet both an unconstitutional and impossible quota of speeding tickets.” Gallicio is also suing for loss of wages and attorney fees, the suit stated.