EBRP District Attorney Moore cites “psychological evaluations” and “refusal of witnesses to cooperate” in declining to prosecute former Trooper’s Association Director Young despite compelling video evidence of multiple felonies.

EBRP District Attorney Hillar More, the guest speaker at the Baton Rouge Press Club meeting of Monday, December 6, 2021, responds to a question by Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns regarding why he declined to prosecute former Louisiana State Trooper’s Association Executive Director David Young.

On June 28, 2019, WAFB (Channel 9 in Baton Rouge) aired this feature on the arrest of former Louisiana State Trooper’s Association Executive Director David Young on multiple felony counts:  1) aggravated assault with a firearm, 2) illegal use of a weapon, and 3) false imprisonment – offender armed with a dangerous weapon.  It was all captured on video on the previously-linked feature.

We at Sound Off Louisiana make it a point to track such matters with the EBRP Clerk of Court’s Office.  After 20 months went by and not even so much as an arraignment appearing on the EBRP Clerk’s system, on Monday, March 8, 2021, Sound Off Louisiana’s founder, Robert Burns, sent WAFB’s news director, Robb Hays, this email, inquiring if WAFB may follow up on its original feature.  From that email from Burns:

Is there any potential for WAFB to perform a follow‐up feature asking EBRP District Attorney Hillar Moore why absolutely nothing (beyond the attached Affidavit of Probable Cause for Young’s arrest) has been done in furtherance of his prosecution?

It just seems that, in matters entailing Louisiana State Police, as newly‐installed Col. Lamar Davis said at the last Louisiana State Police Commission meeting, “the public is getting the perception that police officers are getting treated special.” He is certainly correct, and one can only openly ponder if such “special treatment” (Col. Davis’ own words) don’t extend to associates of police officers such as former LSTA Executive Director David Young.

As is apparent on the email link above, Hays replied that he would conduct an immediate follow-up.  He did so, which led to this follow-up feature by WAFB on March 9, 2021.

In the above-linked feature, WAFB opted not to do a formal television update but instead merely posted a written feature on its website.

Given the nature of the video in WAFB’s original feature, we believe that Louisiana citizens are owed a better explanation of why DA Hillar Moore opted not to prosecute Young.  We provided him with an opportunity to elaborate on his decision not to prosecute at the Baton Rouge Press Club (BRPC) meeting of Monday, December 6, 2021, at which he was the guest speaker.  Here’s what he had to say:

Moore is asked by Burns to elaborate on his decision not to prosecute Young, and Moore responds.

We can only state that, apparently, when it comes to prosecution of Louisiana State Police troopers and their affiliates, even compelling video evidence broadcast on one of the widest media outlets in Louisiana apparently isn’t enough!  We’ll conclude by noting that Young’s reckless act transpired barely 30 days after the Ronald Greene incident!

CLICK HERE for Moore’s presentation in its entirety.

If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops).  Supply your email address within the subscribe box.  You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.

LSP Air Support’s newest-hired pilot crashes helicopter only 19 days after solo certification, but Col. Davis staunchly defends operations even as NTSB alerted of alleged maintenance, operational deficiencies.

Certification of LSP Trooper Joseph B. Dessens, Air Support’s newest-hired pilot, who crashed a Bell 206 helicopter on October 6, 2021, only 19 days after obtaining his certification to fly solo.

Most longer-term subscribers of Sound Off Louisiana are well-aware of our past features regarding concerns expressed by those with integral knowledge of Louisiana State Police (LSP)’s Air Support operations.  In short, these individuals, several of whom have met with Sound Off Louisiana individually, have not minced their words in describing LSP’s Air Support operations.  They have used words and phrases such as “reckless” and “demonstrating a total disregard for safety and mechanical matters” to describe the operations of LSP Air Support.

When we published the most recent LSP Air Support feature on June 17, 2021, we indicated that, barring a major development, it would be our last in the series of features on LSP Air Support because it had been made crystal clear to us that LSP Col. Lamar Davis is totally dismissive of the concerns of those who have alleged the operations at Air Support are deficient and, in fact, went so far as to characterize LSP Air Support operations, and  specifically the hiring of civilian pilot Carl Bruce Stamey (which our sources cite is a direct violation of LSP policy), as “efficient.”  While those who expressed their concerns were nothing short of stunned and dismayed at Col. Davis’ backing of LSP Air Support, we indicated on the video accompanying the just-linked feature that, “We don’t know what more we can do!”

Well, now it turns out that a major development at LSP’s Air Support has transpired, and that is the fact that the  LSP Air Support Unit experienced an emergency crash landing on October 6, 2021.  While the mainstream media largely provided a “just the facts, ma’am,” and in typical fashion for the mainstream media (note:  Channel 2 investigative reporter Chris Nakamoto is a notable exception) simply ran with whatever material LSP issues as factual, we were flooded with cries of, “We told you so!”  It wasn’t long before we were receiving anonymous emails telling us that we needed to follow up on this crash and specifically to focus on the experience of the pilot who crashed the aircraft.

Accordingly, we made public records requests for the qualifications of the pilot who crashed the helicopter.  That pilot turned out to be Joseph Dessens, and we immediately recognized that name as it reinforced what applicants to LSP Air Support (with considerably more flight hours and training who have been allegedly repeatedly passed over by LSP Air Support Commander Steven Lee), had been telling us:  Steven Lee isn’t going to hire anyone who isn’t a close friend of his, isn’t from the Alexandria area, or to be a “lock” hire by him, be both his friend and from Alexandria.

In fact, when we published our April 29, 2021 feature entailing the apparent first-ever hiring of a civilian pilot, Carl Bruce Stamey, in order that Air Support can essentially run a flight school as opposed to performing its core mission, we noted the fact that those aspirants’ concerns became reality!  From that feature:

———————————————————

Addendum (4/30/21 @ 12:23 p.m.):  Early this morning, we got official confirmation that YET ANOTHER Alexandria Trooper was hired for the most recent pilot opening as confirmed by LSPC Executive Director Jason Hannaman:

From: Jason Hannaman <Jason.Hannaman@LA.GOV>
Sent: Friday, April 30, 2021 11:45 AM
To: Robert Burns <robert@soundoffla.com>
Subject: RE: Erin Williams

 

State Police Trooper Joseph Dessens was promoted to State Police Pilot on 2/9/2021.

Dessens was hired as a trooper as part of the 2006 Class of Cadets.  From the preceding link:

TROOP E-Alexandria

  • Joseph Dessens
  • John Dauzat
  • William Martin
  • Alison McCampbell
  • James Rougeou
  • Joseph Simms

——————————————————

So, Lee does as so many who have expressed frustration with his leadership of LSP’s Air Support unit predicted he would and hired the Alexandria-based applicant, Joseph Dessens, over three other applicants for the most recent pilot position.

The results of our public records request demonstrates the fact that Dessens obtained his certification to fly solo on September 17, 2021 and, a mere 19 days later, he crashed the helicopter in which he was flying.

One of our primary sources for alleged deficiencies of LSP Air Support operations stated, “It was unfair the position they placed that pilot in!”

That informant, who has been harshly critical of LSP’s Air Support Unit and who also guided us on Gov. Edwards’ harrowing flight of late 2018, predicted it was a mere “matter of time” before a major crash transpired.  He expressed hope that there would be no casualties when it did.  Fortunately, the October 6, 2021 crash didn’t entail a casualty, but the helicopter is a total loss, and Dessens did suffer “minor injuries.”

We’ve also been told in no uncertain terms by pilots with considerable flight training that, while it is “possible” for an uneventful flight from Baton Rouge to Gonzales to suddenly experience mechanical failure right at the most critical phase of the flight (landing), it is highly unlikely and the odds are much higher that the cause of the crash was student pilot error.  These critics have also emphasized that LSP is not supposed to be “operating a flight school” out of its Air Support Unit, yet they claim that is precisely what LSP Air Support, under its current leadership, is doing.

As everyone is aware, we reported the concerns of LSP Air Support critics to FAA officials in Baton Rouge.  One of those officials conducted an investigation into Gov. Edwards’ aborted harrowing Shreveport flight of late 2018.  As we reported, notwithstanding the pilot’s retirement days after the flight, FAA declined to be critical of his handling of that flight or the decision to abandon Gov. Edwards’ Shreveport landing, return back to Alexandria, after which Gov. Edwards was driven by car back to Baton Rouge.

Several news accounts of the LSP helicopter crash of October 6, 2021 (including the one linked above) stated that this crash will also be investigated by the FAA.  From the WBRZ link on the crash above:

As is procedure in aircraft-related incidents, the FAA will investigate, State Police said.

One individual who happens to be the same one who advised us to reach out to the FAA regarding the alleged deficiencies of LSP Air Support, contacted us soon after the October 6, 2021 crash and stated that it was “fine” for the FAA to “assist” with the investigation of the October 6, 2021 crash, but that it should be the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) which serves as lead for the investigation.  He also indicated that it should concern the NTSB that LSP is operating an “in-house flight school.”  He said that pilots who wish to aspire to private industry pilot positions should obtain that training, “on their own time, and on their own dime, and not that of the taxpayers of Louisiana.”

With that in mind, he strongly encouraged us to reach out to the NTSB and alert them of the concerns of the LSP Air Support critics, and particularly the fact that a major helicopter crash came so soon after so many of them predicted that it was inevitable.

Accordingly, we did reach out to NTSB officials on November 10, 2021, and they responded back to our correspondence on Thursday, November 18, 2021.  Here is the official response to our correspondence:

From: Rodi Jennifer <Jennifer.Rodi@ntsb.gov>
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2021 4:34 PM
To: Robert@SoundOffLA.com
Subject: RE: Louisiana State Police Helicopter Crash of October 6, 2021

 

Mr. Burns,

 

Thank you for taking the time to send this information to the National Transportation Safety Board. We appreciate your interest in aviation safety.

 

Best,

 

Jennifer S. Rodi, Ph.D.

Deputy Chief, Central Region

Senior Air Safety Investigator

National Transportation Safety Board

 

4760 Oakland Street, Suite 500

Denver, Colorado 80239

 

303-373-3505 (Office)

202-640-2968 (fax)

Obviously, we’ll be providing Dr. Rodi with a direct link for this feature seconds after it is published as a follow-up to her correspondence to us.

So, if a casualty does transpire in the future as a result of alleged disregard for safety and mechanical issues at LSP Air Support, nobody can claim the proper authorities weren’t made aware of the serious concerns of many of LSP’s Air Support critics.  We’ll simply reiterate what Burns stated on camera as he wrapped up the June 17, 2021 feature above, and that is, “We don’t know what else we can do.”

As for Col. Davis’ assessment of the unit being “efficient,” we have to openly question if losing an aircraft via pilot error, if in fact that is what transpired vs. a mechanical issue which was beyond the pilot’s control, when that pilot’s certification to fly solo transpired only 19 days prior to the crash, is really all that “efficient.”  At the meeting of the Baton Rouge Press Club of Monday, November 29, 2021, we provided Col. Davis an opportunity to reaffirm his statements entailing LSP’s Air Support efficiency and the soundness of its operations, and here’s what he had to say:

LSP Col. Lamar Davis staunchly defends LSP’s Air Support operations on November 29, 2021 in the face of an absolute avalanche of accusations that his faith and trust is misguided and misplaced given their totally 180-degree opposite views of the unit’s operations and the risks they assert that the unit poses as a result of what they characterize as “absolutely reckless disregard for safety and maintenance of LSP aircraft.”

Although our sources have not yet seen Col. Davis’ video above, we can already anticipate the attacks they are going to make regarding it.  The logic is going to be:  “Sure, anyone can have a crash the day after obtaining certification or the day after graduating a flight class, but why are Black Hawk helicopter pilots who ARE experts about the subject matter of helicopters being passed over to hire pilots who clearly ARE NOT subject-matter experts on flying helicopters?”  We believe that these pilots are owed an explanation from Col. Davis, and from our perspective, Davis has failed miserably to provide them with that explanation.

We also want to reiterate that the FAA official who investigated Gov. Edwards’ harrowing flight emphasized that, if LSP Air Support is engaging in the practice of hiring pilots with far fewer flight hours over pilots with far more flight hours, that is (an EXACT QUOTE), “a horrible practice!”  Nevertheless, he admitted the FAA is “powerless” to make any demands that, “this pilot has to be hired over that pilot.”

Being perfectly blunt, we are deeply disturbed by the dismissive attitude of LSP Command (and Col. Davis in particular) regarding the allegations which we have now extensively reported upon.  It is deeply disturbing that the potential exists for Col. Davis to be completely out-of-touch with the concerns which have been expressed to us, but we again reiterate that we’ve done all we know to do to draw attention to the matter, including the question we posed today at the BRPC meeting.

Here are links for past Sound Off Louisiana features on LSP’s Air Support operations:

1.  November 4, 2020:  LSP Pilot Michael Satcher II to be prosecuted for felony domestic abuse.  Satcher subsequently “retired” after first being permitted to deplete all of his annual leave and “K time.” [Which took well over a year!].  Sources have informed us of another former pilot at LSP Air Support who also resigned soon after, “beating the living s— out of his wife.”

2.   November 15, 2020:  Sound Off Louisiana makes public records requets for pilot qualifications for recent hires.  The results of those requests (available here) readily reveal the fact that Steven Lee has an extensive past history of passing over pilots with stellar qualifications (and far more hours of flying) to hire pilots with less hours and/or those from Alexandria (Satcher is from Alexandria as is Dessens).

3.  November 29, 2020:  An open question as to whether LSP’s Air Support Unit “conned” the Louisiana State Police Commission into de-emphsizing flight hours for promotions and/or hiring purposes.  Our sources tell us that it was “nothing short of a con job” and also state that Mark Morrison, who was the Command Chief of “Emergency Response” (but admitted he is, “not a pilot and cannot speak the language of pilots,”) and who has since retired from LSP, made a total fool of himself as he made statements to the Commission to convince them to de-emphasize flight hours for hiring decisions.

4.  December 27, 2020:  Satcher formally resigns from LSP.  We also elaborate on Sound Off Louisiana‘s continuing probe of LSP Air Support Operations.

5.  February 28, 2021:  In-depth analysis of Gov. Edwards’ aborted landing in Shreveport and return to Alexandria, after which he was driven back by car to Baton Rouge.

6.  April 29, 2021:  LSP is forced to admit it violated its on “trooper only” hiring practices for hiring pilots as it hires Carl Bruce Stamey, a civilian pilot.  Our sources tell us Stamey’s hiring is proof beyond any shadow of a doubt that LSP is operating a “flight school” for the purpose of training aspiring pilots to be able to qualify for more lucrative pilot positions in the private sector, which they assert is completely inconsistent with LSP’s Air Support Mission.

7.  June 17, 2021:  We wrap up our Air Support series by indicating that LSP Col. Lamar Davis defends Air Support’s hiring of Stamey as exploiting “efficiencies.”  Our sources were stunned at Davis’ assessment of LSP Air Support operations and how he is able to somehow reconcile his assessments of “efficiencies” as being consistent with LSP Air Support’s core mission (which they strongly stress is, “not to run an in-house flight school!”).

CLICK HERE for Col. Davis’ presentation in its entirety.

If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops).  Supply your email address within the subscribe box.  You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.

Farmer Billy Broussard follows State Police Col. Davis’ admonition; files IA complaint against Trooper Scott Lopez alleging coordination with SMPG President Cedars to “illegally shut my farming operations down.”

Farmer Billy Broussard stands just outside Louisiana State Police headquarters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana moments after filing his complaint against Trooper Scott Lopez on Friday, November 19, 2021.

On Friday, November 19, 2021, farmer Billy Broussard filed a formal Internal Affairs complaint against Louisiana State Police (LSP) Trooper Scott Lopez.  Broussard explains in the following video his rationale for filing the complaint and the fact that he followed the admonition of LSP Col. Lamar Davis given to Louisiana citizens in a press conference Davis conducted on September 10, 2021:


Broussard elaborates on his rationale for filing his complaint against Trooper Lopez on Friday, November 19, 2021.

A few highlights from the narrative of Broussard’s complaint:

Trooper Lopez proceeded to angrily state to Mr. Miller:
“You better not drive down my road again if you know what’s good for you!” Mr. Miller immediately called me and informed me of Trooper Lopez’s statements to him and emphasized the fact that Trooper Lopez angrily stated to Mr. Miller that, if he (Lopez) did see Mr. Miller driving down “his” road again, he would issue him a citation.

What disturbed me most about Trooper Lopez’s conversation with me is that he voluntarily stated that he had “been working with Parish officials” regarding my property.  In fact, he met with parish officials the very next evening after the incident (i.e. on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 ). Six (6) days later, on June 21, 2021, I received a certified Cease and Desist (C & D) letter in the mail directing to me discontinue all farming operations on the property….I assert that it was inappropriate for Trooper Lopez to be coordinating with St. Martin Parish officials to attempt to shut down my farming operations.

In apparent efforts to “work with Parish officials” to shut down my farming operations, Trooper Lopez went door-to-door to surrounding homeowners to solicit support form them to have my farming operations shut down.

On August 31, 2021, St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars filed an illegal Temporary Restraining Order to shut my farming operations down…..At the top of the list of witnesses was none other than “Scott Lopez.”

The only other non-parish official listed on the witness list is neighbor Blake Dubroc, whom Trooper Lopez specifically sought to assist him in his efforts to, in concert with Parish President Chester Cedars, illegally shut my farming operations down…In short, St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars and Trooper Lopez teamed up to illegally shut down my farming operations.

As refenced in the video, the only video LSP claims to possess entailing the incident of the driver of Broussard’s truck being pulled over is the following dash cam video, which is devoid of any audio:

Dash cam video (no audio) of Broussard’s driver being pulled over by LSP Trooper Scott Lopez on Monday, June 14, 2021 at approximately 4:30 p.m.

The above video was obtained as part of a public records request; furthermore, we want to emphasize that LSP Capt. Nick Manale indicated to us that “body cam” video had been “recovered” entailing the incident.  Nevertheless, all that was provided to us was the above dash cam video, which is devoid of audio.  Here’s Manale’s communication to us (see page 23 of Broussard’s complaint):

The body cam video was recovered and a link was previously sent to Ms. Aucoin, who resigned from the agency last week. Our legal staff is getting a new evidence.com link and that video will be reviewed for any necessary redactions.

We also want to emphasize that we requested audio files from Troop I for incoming and outgoing phone calls from the timeframe of 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Here’s the correspondence we received from Capt. Manale entailing any such audio files (also on page 23 of the complaint):

The recorded phone lines were operating on a temporary replacement system at Troop I at the time of the request. Recovery of those files are still being attempted by our Office of Technology Services. If those files are recoverable, they will still need to be reviewed for citizens’ confidential information.

Giving Capt. Manale the benefit of the doubt that he simply mistyped body cam rather than dash cam above, Broussard felt compelled to draw the following logical conclusion as he wrapped up his complaint (see page 5 of the complaint  link above):

Given the inaccuracy of Capt. Manale’s statement on the nature of the video, I can only assume that, similar to the Ronald Greene incident, Trooper Lopez turned off his body-cam as a result of his anger and intent to vent his anger to my driver after he’d pulled him over.

As we’ve previously reported, we asked for and received the latest version of LSP’s body cam policy.  A retired LSP Trooper, who reviewed the policy and noted the repetitive use of the word “shall” (meaning not optional) in the policy and who has also reviewed the video above, stated:  “I think it’s clear Trooper Lopez violated that policy.”

Again, we’re going to give Capt. Manale the benefit of the doubt that he merely mistyped the nature of the video (i.e. body cam vs. dash cam) recovered vs. him trying to provide cover for Trooper Lopez.  Nevertheless, perhaps that matter can be an area for LSP Internal Affairs to delve into as they investigate the allegations Broussard has presented to them.

Direct links for previous features in the St. Martin Parish Government / Billy Broussard Saga:

1.  LSP Trooper Lopez allegedly demands Broussard’s driver not go down “my road” again (feature contains and extensive video tour of Broussard’s 33-acre farm).

2.  Cedars obtains court-ordered Temporary Restraining Order shutting down Broussard’s farming operations.

3.  Broussard’s attorney asserts in court filings that Cedars is on “crusade” to “harass” Broussard.

4.  Cedars caves and begs for TRO court hearing to be cancelled and offers major concessions to Broussard to do so.

5.  Sound Off Louisiana’s founder explains how SMPG President Chester Cedars is the “epitome and personification of Louisiana’s hostile reputation toward small businesses.”

If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops).  Supply your email address within the subscribe box.  You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.