BAKER, La. (WAFB) - A Baker police officer who was terminated for calling a firearm law “B.S.” has won an appeal to be reinstated.
On Monday, Aug. 19, Judge Caldwell overturned Baker’s Civil Service Board’s 3-2 decision to uphold Adam Procell’s termination due to a procedural violation of his officers bill of rights. The judge also ordered Procell receive back pay in the amount of nearly $50,000, which does not include state supplemental pay, a missed promotion, retirement, and other benefits.
“I feel gratified that Mr. Procell has finally been vindicated. I feel gratified that what I believe is a rather corrupt board up in Baker has been exposed for what it is. There was no basis at the board meeting to affirm this termination,” said Chris Alexander, Procell’s attorney. “There’s a civil suit pending right now that probably will make this look like small potatoes.”
Procell, now employed at the Denham Springs Police Department, has the option to be reinstated at the Baker Police Department, however, he says he has no intentions of returning to the department. He will only return for one day in order to submit his resignation letter he says.
"That’s an environment I really don’t wish to go back to. It’s not a good employee friendly environment that I felt in my time there,” Procell said.
Procell was terminated after an incident in April of 2017. Ben Gautreaux, the son of the East Baton Rouge sheriff, was shooting at a snake in his backyard. Procell responded to the call and told Gautreaux he was violating the law by shooting a firearm within city limits.
Gautreaux asked why he couldn’t even shoot at a snake in his backyard. Sgt. Procell responded, “Yeah, it’s some B.S.”
Baker Police Chief Carl Dunn fired Procell. That termination was upheld by Mayor Darnell Waites, who said he was upset about the comment.
Procell appealed the termination, which he called a “witch hunt.”
When asked how the last two years have been for him, Procell responded, “A nightmare, a nightmare. Everyday you think about it. You relive that situation and wonder if there’s anything you could have done differently. Yeah, you can always Monday morning quarterback yourself. Every officer does,” Procell said.