Civil Service Delays Could Impact Future Hearings

The Civil Service Commission says its only reasonable option was to postpone Don Hopkins's hearing while the two attorneys sort out disagreements over evidence.

"I want to be reinstated, I want my job back, I want to go back and do my job, but doing this with this administration, I don't know if it's possible," Hopkins says.

Officer Hopkins's hearing is now set for the commission's next meeting on March 11. That's the same day that former MPD Captain Dean Harper's hearing was scheduled for. And since the Civil Service Commission only meets monthly, these hearings are starting to back up.

"The first time that Mr. Hopkins' case could have been heard was in December, then January, and that's one of the issues that I have with Civil Service," Mayor Percy Bland explains. "They can only listen to one case per month."

City Attorney Michael Goggans says the case has been held up for so long because Attorney Bill Ready, Jr., is continually requesting information that is outside the realm of what is required for this case. But Ready says the city is purposefully withholding information that he needs.

"I sent a letter to the chief of police outlining what I wanted, asking the chief of police to preserve all evidence I needed to defend this man and did not finally get everything until February 4, 2014," Ready says.

Mayor Percy Bland says he doesn't want to waste any time in holding these hearings, and he believes the evidence of Hopkins's violations is undeniable.

"We have evidence, we're ready to go to the Civil Service Commission with the evidence that we have. I just hate that it's taken so long," he says.

The mayor thinks the hearing for the four removed commissioners needs to happen first. Goggans sent a request for an expedited attorney general's opinion and hopes to have an answer soon. In the meantime, Newscenter 11 has requested the video evidence from Hopkins's case through the Freedom of Information Act.