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Former SFD Captain files legal action for expedited appeal hearing

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

Former Shreveport Fire Captain Derrick Harris may have his chance to appeal his termination sooner than previously scheduled.

The Shreveport Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board Wednesday meeting was anything but civil when the members voted to hold both Billy Glass and Harris' appeals in April, despite attorney John Settle's strong objections.

"I see no reason to delay," Settle says. "If they had a cause to terminate Captain Harris when they did, they should prove it before the Civil Service Board."

Representing Harris, Settle threatened legal action to move that date up, and it looks like he may have his way.

"You can see how the railroad was in action at that meeting," Settle says. "For all I know, if April's not a convenient time- or if the criminal case is not over in April- it'll be bumped back further."

Harris says his client can't afford financially to wait seven months before he finds out his future with SFD.

Thursday, Settle filed a Rule to Show Cause for Expedited Appeal, which District Judge Roy Brun signed off on later that day.

Now both sides are scheduled to meet before Brun Oct. 21. At that time, city representatives will have to prove that Harris' appeal can't be heard at the Dec. 11 board meeting.

Harris says if Brun sides with him, he may even ask for a November hearing.

Wednesday, attorney Joe Woodley pushed the board for the later date, citing concerns over the criminal case.

"My problem is that my witnesses have criminal matters going on," Woodley said. "It's going to be a problem for me to present evidence from the witness stand from people who are not being compelled to testify."

Unlike Louisiana courtrooms, Civil Service Board meetings are open to the public and news cameras.

The Civil Service Board appeal hearings may be the only time Shreveport residents see a former firefighter take the stand and share his side of the story in an official capacity.

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