Lawsuit: Port Allen police chief imposed religious beliefs on officers, wanted ‘saved’ department

By Terry Jones

A former officer with the city’s police department is claiming Police Chief Esdron Brown tried to force him to attend mandatory religious counseling sessions, and when the officer refused, Brown retaliated with disciplinary actions that included threats of suspension or job termination.

Patrick Marshall, who resigned from the Port Allen police force in November 2017, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Brown, the city and its police department.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, comes a month after a city councilman raised questions about the high turnover rate in the city’s police department since Brown took office in 2013.

Since January of 2013 Brown has asked City Council to approve hiring 28 police officers. Fourteen of those hires are no longer with the department, having quit, been fired or retired.

The police department is budgeted for 16 full-time police officers.

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