Bell suing city, Dixon, DeRosier

T.J. Bell, a former deputy chief at the Lake Charles Police Department, has filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Lake Charles, Police Chief Don Dixon and Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier.

Hugo Holland, a special prosecutor for the D.A.’s Office, as well as Richard Harrell and Kirk Carroll, officers of the Lake Charles Police Department, are also named in the lawsuit filed earlier this month in state district court. The lawsuit alleges DeRosier, Holland, Dixon, Harrell and Carroll, acted in concert to have Bell indicted and prosecuted for abuse of office.

Criminal charges against Bell were dropped in August by the D.A.’s Office.

Todd S. Clemons and Adam Johnson, attorneys for Bell, said at a news conference at that time, that the action “vindicated” their client.

Bell was fired in 2015 after allegations he allowed a worker, Jeanine Blaney, to be paid for work she did not do.

State district court Judge Sharon Wilson overturned the decision and reinstated Bell. But the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed that decision and upheld his firing.

The state Supreme Court in 2017 affirmed the 3rd Circuit’s ruling.

Bell’s indictments were for public payroll fraud and malfeasance in office but charges were dropped just ahead of his trial.

“These were two bogus charges,” Clemons said after the charges were dropped. “He has suffered and had to pay extensive legal fees.”

DeRosier said the charges were dropped after his office discussed the matter with City of Lake Charles officials.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants “knowingly and maliciously made misrepresentations to a grand jury about Bell; published information to a third party which defendants knew were false; requested that prosecution and indictment be instituted against Bell when they knew or should have known that the charges lacked any basis in fact or law, and knowingly violated Bell’s civil rights.”

Additionally, the lawsuit alleges since Dixon, Harrell, and Carroll were acting in the course and scope of their employment with the City of Lake Charles, the City is “responsible for the negligent and intentional acts of the defendants.”

Documents in the lawsuit allege the “prosecution and defamation of Bell were also caused by the actions and fault of Holland and DeRosier, who knowingly and maliciously, among other things: provided false information to a grand jury; knowingly violated Bell’s civil rights, and filed and maintained charges against Bell, which they knew or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known were false.”

Further, the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of Bell and his wife, Beulah Bell, alleges that Bell has “suffered and will continue to suffer injury to his reputation, personal and public humiliation, embarrassment, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of wages, loss of earning capacity, and attorney fees and costs to defend himself against wrongful prosecution, for which he is entitled to recover reasonable damages.”

A lawsuit represents only one side of a dispute.

””Civil Lawsuit

Local News

Below-freezing temperatures expected throughout weekend

Local News

Learn to Drive the Bus class scheduled for next week

Local News

Jeff Davis school campuses closed Friday

Local News

Tire fire at shuttered facility leads to prison evacuation

Local News

Redistricting plan would cost Jeff Davis minority district

Local News

Fiery crash leaves two dead in Sulphur

Local News

SW La. nightlife calendar: There’s always something to do

Local News

Tanika Randle: Bringing technology to life for her students

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Expect dissension at session

Business

Port of LC director to House subcommittee: More disaster relief needed

life

Dougherty Davis celebrating her 100th birthday today

Local News

Area braces for blast of cold

Local News

Hotel rooms available during course of freezing temperatures

Crime

Vernon high-speed pursuit ends in airborne crash

Business

New businesses coming to Westlake in 2022

Business News

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Business News

George Swift column: Takeaway from Chamber banquet is that area in good hands

Business News

Lake Charles chosen once again to host World LNG & Gas summit

Local News

Redistricting main topic at annual Legislative Breakfast

Business News

Local group brings 150 gallons of gumbo to tornado-hit area of Ky.

Local News

Cold front expected tonight

Local News

Doctor: COVID not letting up anytime soon

Crime

15-year-old charged with making threat against Sulphur High

Local News

Severe storms headed to area Wednesday night