BAKER, LA (WAFB) - The City of Baker has acknowledged it’s ready to consider making a deal to settle the case involving fired officer, Adam Procell, but there’s a condition. This comes as the officer is set to file an appeal to get his job back.
In April of 2017, Sgt. Adam Procell with the Baker Police Department responded to the home of Ben Gautreaux, the son of the East Baton Rouge sheriff. Gautreaux admitted he had been shooting at a snake in his backyard. Gautreaux was told he violated the law by shooting a firearm inside city limits. Gautreaux asked why he couldn’t even shoot at a snake in his backyard. Sgt. Procell responded, “Yeah, it’s some BS.”
Baker Police Chief Carl Dunn fired Procell. That termination was upheld by Mayor Darnell Waites, who said he was upset about the “BS” comment. Procell and his attorney, Chris Alexander, appealed the termination. Then on August 30, Baker’s Civil Service Board upheld the termination in a 3 to 2 vote.
“He denigrated the law that prohibits the firing of a firearm inside the city limits of Baker,” said Civil Service Board Chairman Andrew Booth.
But the very next week, Alexander said he met with the Baker attorney, Ken Fabre, and they discussed a possible resolution. “They would give him 18 months of back pay, which is all the back pay that he’s lost. They would formally rescind his termination and allow him to move on to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office or another law enforcement agency, which is all he wanted to do to begin with,” said Alexander. But only, “If Adam resigns and moves on to the sheriff’s office and we drop the lawsuits.”
Procell filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Baker and has since amended that suit, now adding another officer to it, Kelvin Miller, as well as Baker’s mayor.
“Because Mayor Waites rubber stamped what was a horrible decision by Chief Dunn, terribly unjust decision without reviewing the facts,” said Alexander.
When Procell refused to drop the lawsuit, the city’s attorney sent an email at the direction of Mayor Waites. “In light of the fact that Mr. Procell is unwilling to dismiss all other pending complaints/suits in which he has named the City of Baker as a defendant, the City of Baker is compelled to decline this settlement offer.”
Alexander says his client will not be dropping the lawsuit. “He thinks that the conduct the chief has engaged in is reprehensible and that he should be fully held accountable for it, so we’re declining that offer,” he said. “They know that what they did was wrong and in all likelihood, the board’s ruling will be reversed in district court and ultimately they will be held accountable in civil district court as well in regard to the civil lawsuit.”
Alexander plans to appeal his client’s termination Friday by asking the 19th Judicial District Court to overturn it.
As for Procell, he’s currently in discussions with three different departments about possible job offers.