UPSHUR COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A photo posted on the social media site Instagram, featuring a Department of Public Safety Trooper from East Texas along with rapper Snoop Dogg has landed the trooper receiving counsel from his employer.
According to the trooper's lawyer, Ty Clevenger, Trooper Billy Spears from Upshur County, worked at the South By Southwest festival in Austin when Snoop Dogg allegedly wanted a picture with the trooper. Spears was working the event with permission from the Department of Public Safety.
The photo of the two was posted on the rapper's Instagram with the caption "Me n my deputy dogg." In the counseling record provided by Spears' attorney, it cites "Spears took a photo with a public figure who has a well-known criminal background including numerous drug charges. The public figure posted the photo on social media and it reflects poorly on the agency."
Spears told them he did not take the photo, but Snoop Dogg asked for the photo. Spears' supervisors stated in the record to "use good judgment when taking photos with anyone while in uniform. Be mindful of social media outlets and how such photos can negatively affect the agency."
Clevenger, in a letter to DPS Director Steven McCraw, is now asking that the counseling be pulled from Spears' record, claiming this is retaliation against Trooper Spears. He said Spears was wrongfully detained by an Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officer and later suspended by DPS. According to Clevenger, Director McCraw reversed the suspension on Spears.
Clevenger asked for a response from DPS by April 7, or he could file suit against the agency.
DPS said late Wednesday they do not comment on personnel matters. A spokesman said DPS supervisors counsel and coach employees on a regular basis and it should not be considered formal discipline.
Another photo was posted by Snoop Dogg after the one with Trooper Spears, this one showing the rapper with a member of the Austin Police Department.
A spokeswoman with APD said that member of their department was not reprimanded for the picture. In a statement, Austin Police said: