During hearing for alleged sending of “derogatory tweet about race,” Police Commission Chairman states: “You’ll be held in contempt if you don’t shut up!”

Louisiana State Police Trooper William R. Woodward, III, who was told at the July 8, 2021 Louisiana State Police Commission to “shut up, or you’ll be held in contempt,” by Commission Chairman Eulis Simien, Jr.

On or about January 21, 2020, LSP Trooper Treone Larvadain became the first African-American female to be promoted to Captain in Louisiana State Police (LSP)’s history.  Much fanfare was made about the accomplishment, and perhaps none more so than this WAFB (Channel 9 in Baton Rouge) feature on the accomplishment.

WAFB, on the day after the above feature aired, January 29, 2020, posted to its Facebook page that congratulations were in order.  LSP Trooper William Woodward, III, the same trooper on whom we recently reported entailing his attorney, Michael DuBos,  asserting that LSP Col. Lamar Davis fails miserably to comply with proper investigative procedures, posted this tweet to his personal Twitter account.  Here’s the content of the Tweet:

The first African-American female to ever….Wow, what country in Africa are you from?

Let’s take a minute (literally) to hear LSP sum up the above events:

At the July 8, 2021 LSPC meeting, Larvadain’s accomplishment and Woodward’s Twitter post are conveyed.

Next up, let’s again spend less than a minute to hear LSP outline all of the alleged violations Trooper Woodward committed in posting the above eight-word tweet:

LSP outlines Woodward’s alleged violations.

Next, we believe in permitting the accuser (Larvadain in this case) to be able to air his or her views in full with no editing, so for those willing to invest the time, here’s a 15-minute audio of Larvadain on the witness stand espousing on her feelings about the Twitter post and why she feels it was inappropriate for Woodward to have posted:

Larvadain explains why she took offense to Woodard’s post and the rationale for why she filed the complaint against him.

At the 3:52 mark of the above audio clip, Larvadain seems to desire to point out the fact that Woodward is employed at Troop F, which has gained national attention entailing the alleged use of excessive force during arrests of African-American individuals.

Nevertheless, when Woodward, who represented himself, questioned Larvadain entailing why she felt the need to emphasize that Troop is the one at which he is employed, Larvadain denied having stated that Woodward worked at Troop F.

When Woodward pointed out that she had in fact stated that he worked at Troop F, Larvadain said that, if she did state the troop at which Woodward is employed, it was meant as nothing more than being informative of which LSP Troop Woodward is employed and that nothing further should be read into her disclosure of that fact.

The next witness called was Bryon Sam, who performed an EEOC review of Woodward’s tweet, and Woodward sought to hone in on the fact that LSP failed to conform to the timeframes for conducting an investigation on the matter.

LSPC Chairman Eulis Simien, Jr., once again demonstrating his propensity to place himself as Judge over the proceedings accused Woodward of “wasting time,” and further told Woodward that, “You’ll be cited for contempt if you don’t shut up!”  Let’s again take less than a minute to have a listen, shall we?

LSPC Chairman Eulis Simien, Jr. asks Woodward why he is “wasting time,” and further admonishes him that, “You’ll be cited for contempt if you don’t shut up!”

We will once again stress the fact that Simien is supposed to serve merely as a member of the LSPC for hearings and permit Lenore Feeney, the actual judge or “referee,” to handle the proceedings.  Instead, just as we’ve stressed in the past, Simien declares himself to be the de facto judge (is there anyone else in a courtroom who can inform any individual that he or she is “in contempt”?) of the proceedings.

We will give Simien credit for one thing.  At least he did not come down from his position (Commissioners sit on elevated seats), and forcefully shove anyone in attendance the way Cosmetology Board Chairman Edwin Neill, Jr., did on Monday, August 2, 2021 entailing shoving Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns.  We’ll have another feature on Neill in coming days that we think our subscribers will find very interesting.

While Simien felt Woodward’s defense was largely a “waste of time,” we will point out some written material Woodward supplied to the LSPC before the meeting which we believe to be noteworthy irrespective of Simien’s overall take that Woodward did nothing more than “waste time.”  In Woodward’s response letter to LSP dated March 17, 2021, he makes the following assertions:

1.  No violation shown by LSP;

2.  LSP violated Woodward’s First Amendment right of free speech afforded by the U. S. Constitution and Louisiana’s Constitution;

3.  The suspension should be removed from his record and he be compensated for the lost pay and costs associated with the suspension;

4.  Request for a hearing (he got that on July 8, 2021, which is the very subject of this post).

5.  Double jeopardy given that Woodward asserts he, “was subjected to verbal berating from Lieutenant Eric Cuenca and removed from my honorable service on the Honor Guard and suspended from working overtime details for an extended period of time in 2020 in direct relation to the alleged violation of policy in regards to my tweet on Twitter this suspension came from.”

6.  Violation of LSPC Rule.  Specifically, he asserts:  “The decision to suspend me came twelve (12) days prior to me being served with the notice to be suspended as evident in email dated 12/29/2020 and the letter notifying me I would be suspended was given to me on 01/10/2021. This is in violation of Commission Rule 12.19 (f).”

7.  Another allegation of failure of LSP to conform to timelines.

8.  That the objectionable tweet was made on his own personal Twitter account and that LSP had failed to provide any evidence that he made any post on any social media platform sponsored by WAFB.

While it’s understandable that Woodward could not verbally assert everything above, we do question Simien’s characterization that he was “wasting time” before the LSPC, particularly regarding assertion # 2 above.  Who knows, perhaps once the dust settles from all this, Woodward may contact The Louisiana Chapter of the ACLU and see if they may have interest in taking on his case for alleged violations of Constitutional rights of free speech.

Next up, LSP Col. Lamar Davis took about 10 minutes to provide his thoughts on the matter and justify his imposition of the suspension.  As with Larvadain, we’ll provide his full commentary on the matter.  Here it is:

LSP Col. Davis testifies entailing what LSP policies he asserts Woodward violated and why he suspended Woodward for the tweet.

We’ll point out that, at the 3:18 mark of the above audio, Davis indicates that Woodward’s action negatively affects the trust that the community has in LSP and emphasizes that troopers are to protect all citizens, irrespective of race.  His point is well-taken; however, we cannot help but note the utter hypocrisy of Davis making such a statement given the fact that, according to the Associated Press, on May 20, 2021, Davis accompanied his Chief of Staff, Doug Cain, on a trip to Monroe to attempt to convince District Attorney John Belton NOT to lodge formal criminal charges against the arresting troopers in the Ronald Greene matter.

We can only openly ask just how adverse Davis’ alleged (we use the word “alleged” because he declined comment to AP reporter Jim Mustian) action is regarding the Greene matter?  Specifically, we wonder just how his own action impacts “community trust,” especially among the African-American community?  Will they now view him as a total sell out?  A total fraud?  An Uncle Tom?    We’re not sure, but somehow we believe trying to block criminal charges wherein troopers beat the living daylights out of a black arrestee who was crying out, “I’m sorry,” and “I’m scared,” and, “I’m your brother,” and who would be beaten nevertheless to the point he died would erode “community trust” far more than Trooper Woodward’s tweet!  That’s just our opinion, though.

At any rate, it would seem particularly inappropriate for someone who now looks to have quite likely engaged in obstruction of justice (Davis) to sit in judgment of someone who, while he certainly may have failed to use common sense in making the Twitter post, hasn’t been remotely accused of a criminal act the way Davis is now directly accused of having committed!

Also, Davis stated that he took past infractions on Woodward’s part into account.  In the interest of full disclosure, those past infractions (which the LSPC members had access to as part of their packages for the hearing) entailed a 2000 incident in which Woodward told a driver over the LSP vehicle’s PA system to, “get over into the G/D right lane!” and also a 2010 incident entailing abandoning an off-duty detail to work DWI and other traffic incidents.

As the hearing drew to a close, Chairman Simien again lit into Woodward as Woodward made his closing arguments, asserting that he was “lecturing to the Commission.”  Again, for investing a minute of time, anyone can hear Simien’s chastising Woodward for the content of his closing arguments:

LSPC Chairman Simien chastises Woodward for the content of his closing arguments.

When the final judgment of the LSPC was rendered, Simien once again could not resist the urge to provide his own commentary at the very end.

Simien’s commentary was completely inappropriate and, we firmly believe that, as a result of it, Woodward’s attorney, Michael DuBos, should seek a Motion for Recusal from Chairman Simien at Woodward’s August 12, 2021 hearing of Trooper Woodward’s appeal for alleged wrongdoing during a DWI arrest Woodward executed on March 24, 2021.

To us, it is abundantly clear that Simien, by his very words at the end of that ruling (beyond his other inappropriate conduct) demonstrates that he in no way whatsoever can serve as an unbiased juror in the upcoming appeal!

Let’s again take just over a minute to hear Simien’s unsolicited commentary at the conclusion of the announcement of the LSPC’s decision on the Twitter post, shall we?:

Simien provides unsolicited (and we believe inappropriate) commentary after the LSPC rendered its decision on Woodward’s Twitter post.

So, that’s the latest, folks!  Fortunately, Sound Off Louisiana’s founder’s mother can only pass away once (a fact for which he is most grateful), so, unlike the July 8, 2021 LSPC hearing wherein Burns simply could not attend with his mother’s passing being imminent, he’ll be there for the August 12, 2021 appeal hearing for Woodward and whatever other noteworthy happenings may transpire at that meeting and have his camera along with him.

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