A former Mobile police captain demoted after being found guilty of having sex with a subordinate while on duty is suing the city, Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Police Chief James Barber, former Assistant Chief Joseph Kennedy and Mobile County Personnel Board Executive Director Donald Dees, claiming she was denied due process.
In a complaint filed by her attorney, Carroll Ogden, Carla Longmire claims proper personnel board rules weren’t followed when she was demoted, and she and other employees weren’t properly trained on the board’s rules and regulations. The complaint also alleges she was forced to retire early, due to retaliation, following the demotion.
Ogden had no comment on the case and City Attorney Ricardo Woods said they would respond to the allegations and defend the case appropriately.
The Personnel Board upheld Longmire’s demotion following an appeal hearing in March 2014. At the time, Longmire was appealing a Dec. 17, 2013, ruling from an MPD trial board that she be demoted from captain to lieutenant after being found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer. The charges came to light after an internal complaint was filed that claimed Longmire and officer Bradley Latham engaged in sexual relations while on duty.
The complaint alleges the initial trial board hearing was held inappropriately.
“Plaintiff was advised that the administrative trial board hearing would be non-adversarial in nature and form; however, it was an adversarial hearing” the complaint reads. “The form used was not compliant with [Mobile County Personnel Board rules].”
Not only was the hearing adversarial but, according to the complaint, Longmire wasn’t allowed to “sit in on the questioning of witnesses called to offer testimony against her interest.” The suit claims this is in violation of due process, as set up in the board’s rules, and a violation of Longmire’s constitutional rights.
The complaint also alleges the defendants in this case have failed to provide due process in similar cases, as well.
“Defendants were charged by the Mobile County Personnel Board to discharge certain non-discretional due process procedures in a manner as legislated,” the complaint reads. “The provisions of MCPB [rules] mandated certain prescribed timeframes and due process procedures. The defendants knowingly failed to abide by them and continue to do so, even through the date of this filing.”
The complaint claims Longmire has experienced emotional distress and expended financial resources due to the actions of the defendants. The complaint asks for compensatory and punitive damages from the defendants. The suit specifically asks for compensatory damages of $500,000, reimbursement of attorney fees and punitive damages for the defendants’ “malicious and spiteful pattern of due process violations, equal protection violations and retaliation taken against the plaintiff for seeking to enforce due process protections.”
Prior to her dalliances with Latham landing her in hot water, Longmire’s name was front and center in an internal investigation concerning the Police Explorers program. Longmire had served as executive director of the program, which used federal grant money for juvenile outreach, at a time when issues arose concerning who was attending skiing trips out of state.
In an Aug. 31, 2011, memo from Maj. Kara Rose to then-Police Chief Michael Williams, Rose wrote about several problems with the program, including discrepancies in who was attending ski trips and excursions to New York and Washington, D.C., all of which used federal money.
Rose laid much of the program’s trouble at Longmire’s feet. Longmire has a son who attended several trips, according to records obtained by Lagniappe. An investigation Lagniappe led into the program in 2013 discovered an internal MPD memo described its administration in a state of “complete disarray.” Allegations had surfaced that MPD personnel used the funds to take friends and family members on the trips.
In February, Barber said a joint FBI and MPD inquiry into the matter found very scant evidence to support the claims, but that was due to the program’s practice of shoddy record keeping.
“That was an interesting case in that the lack of documentation and the lack of record keeping actually worked to their advantage because they left no paper trail,” Barber said at the time.
The record keeping was such that it was hard for investigators to find out who connected to the program “stayed at hotels, who ate at restaurants, who rode a bus,” Barber said. The record keeping also made it hard to figure out how the money was spent, he said.
Neither Longmire nor any other MPD officer was disciplined as a result of the Explorers investigation.
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