Former Hessmer police officer sues Village of Hessmer for 'wrongful termination'

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HESSMER, La. (KALB) - Former Hessmer police officer Jordon Santoyo has sued the Village of Hessmer for what he is claiming was “wrongful termination.”

Photo Source: MGN

Santoyo said it began in 2018 after he was given permission by Hessmer Police Chief Kenneth Smith to investigate potential malfeasance issues in the Village of Hessmer, as well as public finances, “including whether public funds were being expended for private events.”

In July of last year, Santoyo was pursuing part-time work with Cottonport, with the permission of Chief Smith, when Hessmer officials claimed that he had “undertaken personal matters outside the village while on the clock.” This was referring Santoyo attending a council meeting in Cottonport while on duty, which he also claimed he had Chief Smith's permission to do.

During an emergency special meeting on July 26, the Village of Hessmer voted to terminate Santoyo. The suit claimed that Hessmer “did not want an officer of the Village of Hessmer investigating potential abuses into public finances.”

Santoyo later began working for Cottonport “for a one-month probationary period only.” But, the suit stated that Cottonport ended his employment against the recommendation of the Cottonport Police Chief after Hessmer officials “continued disparaging” and “lobbying the Village of Cottonport not to retain” him due to his investigation of Hessmer.

He said both his firing by Hessmer and his not being hired by Cottonport were because of his investigation, not his activities while on the clock. He said has suffered a loss of income, loss of reputation, and emotional distress among other things.

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