Sheriff suspends deputy for five days without pay

A Jefferson County sheriff's deputy has been suspended without pay for not telling the truth in statements about an arrest in May.

Deputy Tony Barker, 63, who has been with the sheriff's office for five years, is one of two deputies who arrested process server Steve Hartman as Hartman attempted to serve Judge Layne Walker with a lawsuit.

In his written statement, Barker said he wasn't in the courtroom when the incident started, and that he only went in when he heard yelling.  But video taken by a fountain pen camera that Hartman had showed Barker inside the courtroom the entire time.  Jefferson County Sheriff Mitch Woods says Barker has admitted he did not hear anything coming from Hartman.

Sheriff Woods says Barker's suspension will likely go into effect next week.  Woods says he'd like to schedule his suspension during a time that it would cause the least amount of disruption to the department's duties.

Earlier this month, Sheriff Woods recommended the other deputy involved in the arrest, Sergeant Steve Broussard, be fired.  But Broussard has chosen to retire at the end of the month.

Broussard took the pen camera away from Hartman when he was arrested and instead of turning it into evidence, he took it home first and downloaded the video.

Sheriff Woods also told 12News that while the men were untruthful in their statements, they were not on the stand in a courtroom testifying under oath, so Woods says they did not commit perjury.

Woods says the internal investigation into this matter is complete, and no other deputies will be investigated.

That includes Sergeant Chad Kolander, who sought a search warrant from a district judge, to download the video after authorities already knew Broussard had seen it. 

But Sheriff Woods says, that search warrant was still necessary, and was written up by the district attorney's office.



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