Ferriday mayor suspends chief again

Published 12:41 am Friday, March 17, 2017

FERRIDAY — For the third time in four months, Ferriday Mayor Sherrie Jacobs has suspended Ferriday Police Chief Arthur Lewis for 30 days without pay.

Lewis was suspended Thursday after returning to duty from his previous 30-day suspension Wednesday.

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“He refuses to follow orders that were put into place for the advancement of the police department and the safety of the citizens of Ferriday,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs declined to comment further.

Alderman Glenn Henderson and Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd said Thursday the mayor had not spoken to them about suspending Lewis.

Henderson said he thinks Jacobs will continue to suspend Lewis for 30 days until Lewis quits.

“This is ridiculous,” Henderson said. “You should not be treating the town like that, much less an individual. This is obviously something personal.”

Lewis has not broken any laws, Henderson said. He said if Lewis is doing a bad job, then the mayor needs to hold a hearing with the board in which both parties have an opportunity to present their side.

“Let the man come back and do his job,” Henderson said. “And if he is not doing his job, it falls on the board. But she is not giving the board an opportunity or herself an opportunity to fairly judge this man.”

Henderson said the people of Ferriday are getting fed up with these political games with the police chief.

“She is putting the town in a bad position by continuing to do this,” Henderson said. “She doesn’t care about the citizens or she wouldn’t keep doing this to someone they expected to be leading.”

Lewis could not be reached for comment.

Jacobs suspended Lewis in February after aldermen voted unanimously to keep Arthur Lewis as the town’s police chief.  The aldermen’s vote came after Jacobs sought to terminate Lewis.

Jacobs said at the time he was suspended for a January incident in which he instigated an argument between two officers.

Lewis, however, denied instigating the argument with the two officers.

Jacobs had previously suspended Lewis in December following two acts of alleged insubordination.

The first act, Jacobs said, involved months of overspending and allowing two officers to continue to come to work after Jacobs asked Lewis to deliver termination letters to officers for positions the town could not afford.

Lewis said in February two officers returned the letters, which he returned to Jacobs, and to his understanding Jacobs accepted that outcome.

Then, on Dec. 2, for allegedly failing to act when a heated argument between two officers occurred at the police station. Jacobs said in February when Lewis or the assistant chief did not go to the station the night in question to handle the incident, she was forced to handle the matter.

Lewis said at the time he understood the assistant chief had the situation under control, and after not hearing anything further about the incident the night in question, saw no need to go to the station.