A picture is worth a thousand words, and the Texas Department of Transportation and Safety obviously thinks the words are some kind of disturbing message after one of their troopers posed for a picture with Snoop Dogg while working a second job. Two weeks ago, while at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas State Trooper Sergeant Billy L. Spears posed for a photo with Snoop Dogg, who was dressed appropriately and was simply leaning on the trooper’s shoulder for the pose. There was no profanity, no obscene gestures, nothing illegal happening, no suggestion of any illegal activity in the picture.
Spears’ lawyer, Ty Clevenger, was as outraged as most of the public seems to be about the situation and posted the contents of the order publicly, which stated that posing with Snoop somehow implies the advocacy of criminal behavior.
“While working a secondary employment job, Trooper Spears took a photo with a public figure who has a well-known criminal background including numerous drug charges. It reflects poorly on the agency.”
Clevenger also claimed that Spears was not aware of Snoop Dogg’s criminal past. Clevenger said “not everyone reads TMZ or People” and that Spears had simply known Snoop Dogg to be a rap artist who was famous.
Clevenger also stated that Spears believes the real reason for the order of counseling is in retaliation because Spears had blown the whistle on another officer last year for some type of misconduct.
The Department of Transportation and Safety would not comment on this situation, saying it was a “personnel issue” and that it was not a formal disciplinary action, just a remand for counseling. However, Clevenger argues the letter will go into Spears’ personnel file, so it is a type of formal action.
Readers, what do you think? Is it crossing a line to mandate counseling to an officer of the law for taking a picture with someone with a criminal background? Share your thoughts.
[Photo Courtesy of Jason Oxenham/Getty Images]