LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– A former Lafayette police officer who lost his job after being accused of using excessive force wants his firing overturned.
During a Lafayette Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service board hearing about six months ago, the board heard why former officer Alex Ritter believes he was wrongfully terminated. Ritter is asking for official confirmation that he was wrongfully terminated.
Ritter is accused of punching and using excessive force against a man who was in his custody. Ritter argued he used such force to regain control of a situation that had gotten out of hand.
Trainers for the police department testified, in an earlier hearing, that they had hoped Ritter would have transitioned to another tactic earlier on.
“Seeing him transition sooner rather than later. Yes, mama but that’s just from a trainer’s perspective,” a trainer said.
The board learned Ritter was one month shy of being confirmed for civil service protections when the incident that led to his firing occurred.
An officer has to have served a year to qualify. Ritter’s attorney Allyson Melancon explained the reason for the board’s most recent decision.
“According to the board they have determined that they never ruled on that issue of confirmation which equals eligibility to come before the board,” Melancon said.
Now, the civil service’s decision is to put the confirmation decision on an upcoming agenda for them to rule on.
“They’re going to have a hearing on that issue, only eligibility, and that hinges on whether he was a confirmed Lafayette police officer at that time,” she said.
Melancon said if the board determines Ritter was confirmed and eligible to appeal his termination, then the board will next decide if the termination was in good cause or not.
“If they decide he wasn’t eligible, then that’s it,” Melancon said.
During the meeting the board did not schedule a date yet for the hearing.