Retired LSP Trooper Leon “Bucky” Millet makes his public comments to the Louisiana State Police Commisison at the conculsion of a disciplinary hearing entailing three LSP troopers’ “Las Vegas side trip” while traveling to a San Diego conference in October of 2016. The Commission will render its judgment at its next meeting of August 9, 2018.
We have taken our time to produce today’s feature entailing testimony by three LSP troopers on Monday, July 16, 2018 before the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) because #1) it was a lengthy and tedious process to condense each trooper’s testimony into reasonable-viewing-time videos for our subscribers and, #2) the LSPC has opted to wait until its next scheduled meeting before rendering its decision.
The troopers provided compelling evidence that they were essentially expected to be errand boys (our words, not their words) for former Col. Edmonson, with trooper Rodney Hyatt testifying that Edmonson indicated that, “if you want to go to the convention, you have to drive!”
At this time, let’s present condensed video testimony for each trooper. Because Hyatt’s role was the lead on this venture and Edmonson chose to communicate almost exclusively through him, by necessity, Hyatt was on the stand far longer (nearly four hours) and, correspondingly, his video is longer. Although our condensed version is 43 minutes, we believe it is #1) very informative, and #2) well worth the view (as are those of troopers Thurman Miller and Derrell Williams as well). Here are the videos of the troopers’ testimony:
LSPC testimony of Rodney Hyatt (CLICK HERE for testimony in its entirety).
LSPC testimony of Thurman Miller (CLICK HERE for testimony in its entirety).
LSPC testimony of Derrell Williams (CLICK HERE for testimony in its entirety).
When the entire four-day proceeding concluded, Advocate reporter Jim Mustian drafted an excellent article entailing the troopers’ testimony. Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns provided extensive commentary in the comments section of that article entailing what he believes the LSPC’s ultimate decision will be (as well as some other commentary on the matter, with particular negative focus on Gov. Edwards near the end). If readers would like, they may view those comments in their entirety here; however, for purposes of this feature, let’s focus strictly upon the crux of the matter at hand, and that is the prediction on how this hearing will ultimately play out as predicted by Burns (from the aforementioned comments):
First, great article, Jim, just as you’ve done throughout this ordeal and on other matters pertaining to LSP.
Now, I know what I’m about to write will most certainly not be popular; however, as that saying goes, “it is what it is.”:
The members of the LSPC are essentially jurors. As such, though their final decision may not even coincide with their own opinions on the matter, as jurors, they are to listen to the evidence and testimony and then take the appropriate action in light of that evidence and testimony.
I have attended approximately 65% or so of the four-day hearing. Not only did Major David McClendon testify that, if Edmonson approved the side trip (which the evidence was overwhelming that he did and even cheered it on), then the issue of disciplinary action “would have to be revisited,” but beyond that, Col. Kevin Reeves, near the end of his testimony and when quizzed by LSPC Chairman Eulis Simien, Jr. stated in no uncertain terms that, “if the previous administration approved the rates for the hotel charges,” no violation transpired! Also, Col. Reeves testified that, if Col. Edmonson instructed Trooper Derrell Williams to play golf and network with the Motorola representatives and that he considered him “on the clock” when doing so, that too “would not be a violation.”
Hence, as jurors, the LSPC has an obligation to consider the testimony entailing the above revelations and take the appropriate action. In my humble opinion, that is going to necessitate the following:
1. Trooper Williams’ demotion will be overturned, his previous rank will be reinstated, and he will be issued back pay for the time he has been demoted. I do not believe he will be reinstated to his prior position in Internal Affairs because of the inappropriate emails sent on the LSP computer email account.
2. Entailing those inappropriate emails, I believe the LSPC will instruct that a letter of reprimand be placed in Williams’ file for that infraction.
3. Trooper Hyatt’s demotion will be overturned, his previous rank will be reinstated, and he will be issued back pay for the time he has been demoted. The evidence has been overwhelming that Hyatt was forced to drive as a condition of attending (he indicated today a total lack of enthusiasm when first told he would have to drive) and that, as attorney Floyd Falcon stated at the outset of the hearing, that was a requirement “so Colonel Edmonson could have a Ford Expetition at his beck and call and a driver in San Diego.”
- Trooper Thurman Miller’s letter of reprimand will be expunged from his file. Col. Reeves indicated that “common sense” would have dictated not making this side trip, and that’s true. It is also “common sense” that only an idiot would drive from Natchitoches, Louisiana to Baton Rouge only to then have to ride with a crew from Baton Rouge back to Natchitoches, Louisiana when going to San Diego! Miller stated that made no sense. The bottom line is he had no idea they were even going to take the “northern route,” and thus would also be in the dark on the adventures along the way. Thus, in the truest sense of the phrase, he was literally “along for the ride.” Under those circumstances, I do not believe the letter of reprimand was appropriate, and I think the commission members will see it the same way.
With the benefit of time, the only addition Burns now indicates he would make to the above itemization is that a letter of reprimand would also be placed in Hyatt’s file for him having disregarded his obligation to be at a conference at 9:00 a.m. and, by his own admission, “staying up late in Las Vegas” the night before, causing him to not make it to the conference until around 2 pm.
The meeting Monday concluded with very interesting public comment from retired LSP trooper Leon “Bucky” Millet, who has been a determined watchdog at the LSPC for about 2 1/2 years. Let’s view his public comment at this time:
Public comment by retired LSP trooper Leon “Bucky” Millet at the conclusion of the meeting.
We contacted Millet after the meeting, and he indicated that, were he a member of the LSPC, he would decline to take any action at this time other than “referring it to the Attorney General, Inspector General, and East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney for criminal investigation.” He indicated that, if the investigative agency finds that the troopers committed criminal acts, “they should be terminated upon finding of guilt.” When we pushed him for what he would do if the agency declined to review the matter or, upon review of the matter, determined that no criminal acts transpired on the parts of the troopers, what he would do? His response: “At a bare minimum, I would uphold Col. Reeves’ disciplinary measures because, in my opinion, they knowingly took a state-paid vacation.”
The LSPC announced that it will render its judgment at its next meeting of August 9, 2018, and Sound Off Louisiana will be there to videotape that decision and distribute it to our subscribers and other interested parties.
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