NEW ORLEANS -- A New Orleans police officer was wrongfully fired two years ago for lying about his alleged role in a beating, according to a Civil Service Commission ruling released Tuesday.
The commission reversed police Superintendent Ronal Serpas’ 2011 termination of Officer Chadwick Taylor, and ordered Taylor reinstated with full back pay.
An NOPD internal investigation found that Taylor had kicked a student in the head several times outside Warren Easton High School in 2010, and that he later denied striking the student. Taylor appealed the termination.
On Tuesday, the commission wrote in its ruling, “There is no reliable evidence to suggest that (Taylor) did anything meriting discipline.”
Taylor was part of a group of plainclothes officers investigating a student who was allegedly selling marijuana outside the school. He arrested the student. The student then resisted and struck Taylor.
An NOPD investigation found that Taylor kicked the student while the student was handcuffed. But none of the other officers on the scene said they saw Taylor kick the student. And the school’s assistant principal told the NOPD he saw the student fighting the officers, and that he never saw Taylor stand over the student and kick him.
Taylor’s attorney, Eric Hessler, said the ruling vindicated the officer.
"It's quite obvious he had done nothing wrong,” Hessler said. “I think the department was concerned about the publicity in the case and they threw him to the wolves. Later, when it came time to support their firing, they couldn't prove it."