A Jefferson County Sheriff's Office deputy who has been with the department for 21 years has been indefinitely suspended without pay as the result of an investigation into the handling of evidence in a criminal case.
Sgt. Steve Broussard, 57, is one of the deputies involved in the May arrest of Process Server Stephen Hartman. Hartman is accused of disrupting court proceedings while attempting to serve Judge Layne Walker with notice of a lawsuit.
A camera fitted to look like a ballpoint pen was seized from Hartman. Sgt. Broussard was later accused of taking the pen-camera home.
Sheriff Mitch Woods told 12News that Sgt. Broussard's suspension is effective Friday. He said the decision to suspend Sgt. Broussard without pay came after a disciplinary review board met Thursday.
The board wanted Broussard to be suspended without pay for 10 days. The punishment would have been five days for not being truthful and another five days for violating procedure on handling evidence. But Woods argued that Broussard, in spite of having no previous disciplinary action on his record, should terminated because of the severity of the accusation. In the end, Woods chose to place Broussard on permanent unpaid suspension.
Broussard has the right to appeal the sheriff's decision to a civilian review board. If the civilian review board agrees with the sheriff, Broussard would be terminated.
Sheriff' Woods said the internal investigation has concluded. He said he does not anticipate taking action against any other deputies.
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