Mississippi Division
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PBA represents Mississippi member in successfully appealing demotion

Lt. Brandon Ashley, a 13-year veteran of the Moss Point (Miss.) Police Department, was demoted to sergeant in December 2013 after his chief took issue with Lt. Ashley’s decision not to call out a K9 in regard to an auto theft incident.  Lt. Ashley and officers under his command responded to the auto theft in progress call and arrived at the scene as the vehicle was departing.  Officers were able to apprehend the passenger, while the second suspect fled on foot into the woods.  Based on a number of tactical reasons, Lt. Ashley decided not to call out the department K9 to search for the second suspect, who was, in fact, apprehended a short time later.
 
Later that evening, Chief Keith Davis approached Lt. Ashley at the scene of a shooting incident.  Chief Davis was unhappy that Lt. Ashley had not called out the K9 to search for the second suspect in the auto theft incident.  Lt. Ashley told the chief that he didn’t think the K9 was necessary at the scene, given the circumstances.   
 
The next day, the chief went before the board of aldermen and charged Lt. Ashley with insubordination.  The board agreed to demote him and cut his pay by $5,000.
 
Lt. Ashley promptly requested assistance from PBA.  Attorney Russell Gill was assigned to the case, and he appeared before the board of aldermen to ask them to reverse the demotion.  The board refused.  Gill proceeded with filing Lt. Ashley’s appeal to the Moss Point Civil Service Commission.
 
Lt. Ashley’s civil service hearing was held on March 25, 2014.  On May 9th, the commission released its determination that Lt. Ashley’s rank and pay should be restored.  The decision stated that “the demotion of Lieutenant Brandon Ashley was not made for political or religious reasons but was not made in good faith and for cause. Testimony supported that the Standard Operating Procedure provided for discretionary measures and or decisions to be made by the Officer in Charge on the scene.  In this case Ashley was the Officer charge and exercised his discretion and this practice and precedent has been established in previous calls for service.”
 
The commission further stated that “Brandon Ashley should be reinstated to pre-demotion status, and all benefits and authority reinstated, and his record be expunged to retract demotion status.”
 
While the city of Moss Point initially appealed the civil service commission’s decision, the city decided in October 2014 not to proceed with the appeal.
 
Lt. Ashley commented, “Being a member of SSPBA, I received numerous hours of legal representation that I would not have been able to afford.  Also, my rank and pay have been reinstated due to the services provided by SSPBA.  The benefits and services I have received greatly outweigh the price of membership.”

 

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