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.