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Shreveport detective files suit, alleges Chief Shaw didn't follow up on Station 8 allegations

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Shreveport Police Department Shreveport Police Department
Shreveport Police Chief Willie Shaw Shreveport Police Chief Willie Shaw
Shreveport Fire Chief Craig Mulford leaving CCC June 26 Shreveport Fire Chief Craig Mulford leaving CCC June 26

The ever-growing scandal stemming from allegations of prostitution and abuse at Shreveport Fire Station 8 may have reached across to Shreveport Police Department, a year after a string of arrests first tarnished the fire department's reputation.

Detective Rod Demery's lawsuit filed in Caddo Parish District Court this week alleging that Chief Willie Shaw and other top police administrators failed to follow up on information related to Station 8. Demery says SPD authorities knew about the alleged June 14 prostitution weeks before they acted on the information, and the veteran of 15 years says he was punished for continuing to chase leads.

The lawsuit says Demery was assigned the Station 8 case in late July 2013, but "despite having specifically requested Detective Demery to investigate the incident at Fire Station 8, Shaw never told Detective Demery about the information provided to him about the prostitution incident at Fire Station 8."

Demery's investigation lead to the arrest of five- now former- firefighters. Billy Glass, Derrick Harris, Clint Richardson, and Jason Vaughan are charged with principal to prostitution.

Demery says he first encountered resistance from his own department after these arrests, when he informed supervisors that the investigation was expanding to include SFD leadership.

The most senior detective in the homicide division, Demery was told by Capt. Bill Offer that "he needed to rap up the investigation into the Fire Department and concentrate on homicides," according to the lawsuit.

When Demery continued to devote hours to the SFD investigation, Capt. Offer allegedly told Demery "on special evaluation due to his allegedly not completing reports in a timely fashion and his working homicides assigned to other detectives." The same month, Aug. 2013, Demery filed a grievance with the city's human resources department refuting the claims, and the lawsuit says Demery was not placed on special evaluation as a result of the HR investigation.

Fire Chief Craig Mulford was indicted by a Caddo Parish grand jury June 26 on five counts of malfeasance in office. Prosecutors say Mulford conspired to stop the Station 8 investigation and failed his oath of office when he didn't report allegations of abuse of disabled person, despite mandatory state reporting laws.

Related article: SFD Chief Mulford and Carpenter to be arraigned today

Less than a week ago, a credible witness came to the Caddo Parish District Attorney's Office to tell lead prosecutor Dale Cox, Demery, and members from the Louisiana State Police and FBI that police leadership may have done the same thing.

"The next step for us- and when I say 'us' I mean the DA's office, the State Police, the FBI- is to conduct our due diligence and see if this information is in fact credible, and if so what significance it may have, if any,' Assistant District Attorney Dale Cox said.

The lawsuit says, “However, on August 13, 2013, just hours after the witness provided information to all of the investigating agencies that indicate that Shaw [and other SPD authorities] may not have been honest and are now potential suspects in additional derivative crimes, and not long after Capt. Offer was subpoenaed to the Grand Jury and then suddenly retired, Det. Demery was notified that he was being transferred out of the Detectives Office and sent back to evening patrol.”

Demery is asking the court for an injunction and hearing to stop the shift change, as well as compensatory damages.

All three of Caddo's civil court judges have recused themselves from the case. The case is scheduled for hearing in Judge Joseph Bleich's court Aug. 28.

Additional links:

Lawsuit - Rod Demery versus Willie Shaw and the City of Shreveport

Mayor Cedric Glover's response to the SPD lawsuit

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