LSP Col. Lamar Davis, whom Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns made clear would face Contempt of Court charges if he did not surrender Letters of Counseling/Warning pursuant to 19th JDC Judge Don Johnson’s Order of May 23, 2022.
When we initially sued Louisiana State Police on April 5, 2022 seeking to force LSP to surrender two (2) Letters of Counseling/Warning for LSP Trooper Scott Lopez under seal for in-camera inspection, the attorney for the firm representing LSP, Dennis Phayer of Burglass and Tankersley in Metairie indicated in his answer that Defendant LSP “did not object” to 19th JDC Judge Don Johnson examining in-camera both the 137 +/- fully-redacted pages from LSP Trooper Scott Lopez’s personnel file and his two (2) Letters of Counseling/Warning, we can only assume that Phayer did not bounce that off his LSP client before making that representation to the Court.
We make that assertion because we were bombarded with legal filings from Wednesday to Friday of last week that constituted nothing short of a full-blown attempt to perpetrate a fraud upon Judge Johnson. Had it succeeded, and Burns takes no pride in blocking it because such lack of transparency for a State Judge to view documents in-camera should not be present at LSP, but it is, Judge Johnson would be fully-blocked from seeing Trooper Lopez’s Letters of Counselling/Warning EVEN in-camera! WOW! What does that say, folks?
Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns explains in today’s video why he literally had to threaten LSP with Contempt of Court Charges against Colonel Lamar Davis if LSP did not surrender those two (2) Letters of Counseling/Warning pursuant to Judge Johnson’s Order of May 23, 2022 issued in open court.
Burns made the threat on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, and it was only then that LSP finally realized it could no longer continue to perpetrate the fraud upon Judge Johnson and would have no choice but to surrender the documents for Judge Johnson for his in-camera inspection.
The matter didn’t end there, however. Apparently when the fraud gig was up, the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) came charging in to the rescue at the 11th hour and 59th minute by filing a Motion for Leave of Court to file an Amicus Brief on the matter so late that its attorney, Lenore Feeney, could not even get it stamped by the EBRP Clerk of Court because it was closed on Friday for Juneteenth.
We’re going to provide a table with all court filings, but first here’s today’s video of Burns outlining just what all transpired from Wednesday, June 15, 2022 to Friday, June 17, 2022 as he got bombarded with court filings in those three days:
Burns outlines the fraud LSP attempted to perpetrate upon 19th JDC Judge Donald Johnson by covertly avoiding his Order of May 23, 2022 to produce the two (2) Letters of Counseling/Warning for LSP Trooper Scott Lopez.
Time for that table of all court filings in the matter. Here it is:
|Date of Court Filing||Court Filing Link|
|April 5, 2022||Lawsuit filed by Burns pro se|
|April 21, 2022||LSP (Col. Davis in his capacity) answers lawsuit.|
|May 13, 2022||LSP files opposition memorandum leading up to May 23, 2022 court hearing.|
|May 23, 2022||Hearing transpires. LSP Ordered to surrender all redacted pages in personnel file and two (2) Letters of Counseling/Warning to court for in-camera inspection.|
|June 3, 2022||Burns files his brief for the June 20, 2022 court hearing|
|June 10, 2022||LSP files this memoradum to include reference to the Letter of Reprimand of 2/14/22 and a Letter of Counseling of 4/12/22 as being filed under seal, neither of which bore any relation whatsoever to what Burns was seeking|
|June 16, 2022||LSP files this supplement to its Motion for Leave (but only after Burns threatened to file Contempt of Court charges against Davis) and indicates it will separately file Lopez's two (2) Letters of Counseling/Warning under seal.|
|June 17, 2022||LSPC files this Amicus Brief outlining its strong opposition to the release of any Letters of Conseling/Warning to the public.|
|June 19, 2022||Burns files this reply to the Amicus Brief filed by LSPC|
Quite a flurry, no? Looks like somebody REALLY doesn’t want troopers’ Letters of Counseling/Warning made available to the public! Wonder why? Well, we may find the answer merely by deploying a few passages from Burns’ reply to LSPC Legal Counsel Lenore Feeney’s last-second weigh in via her Amicus Brief. It was served to all a few hours ago via email (Sunday, June 19, 2022). Here are a few highlights as we close this feature:
- Unlike regular Civil Service for general state employees, LSP Troopers play a unique role in trying to keep the citizens of our state safe. They can and should be held to a very high standard of conduct and ethics by the public. Further, at one time in the distant past, LSP enjoyed such standing and was well-regarded by Louisiana citizens (and that included when the public passed the Constitutional Amendment establishing the LSPC in 1991). Regrettably, the agency is an unmitigated disaster now with many retired Troopers telling Plaintiff they are now ashamed of the very uniform they once took great pride in touting; furthermore, there is scant evidence of any signs of meaningful improvement anytime soon. The proof of that fact is readily apparent in the news headlines (some of which have been exposed by Plaintiff’s blog, including being the first to report on the Ronald Greene matter on September 10, 2020), which LSPC seems to go out of its way to vilify in its Amicus Brief.
- When bad actors, of which everyone is rapidly learning there are more and more within LSP, are permitted to continue their actions because their superiors simply deploy Letters of Counseling/Warning as a way to keep from “breaking the brotherhood,” then we all lose! Unfortunately, some lose way more than others, and that regrettably includes citizens who are known to have had their civil rights blatantly and brazenly violated by LSP Troopers.
- Let’s examine the very response a supervisor issued entailing former LSP Trooper (Dakota DeMoss) upon that supervisor’s review of the details of DeMoss’s vicious five-trooper beating of Antonio Harris on May 23, 2019. As mentioned in his original Petition (which Defense Counsel admitted in open court on May 23, 2022 was “too long” <for him to presumably dignify by actually reading the petition>), and for which Petitioner broke that feature to include the disgusting language used upon Harris’ apprehension. Let’s reproduce that disgusting language at this time: The troopers then escorted Harris to one of their marked police vehicles. As they placed Harris in the back seat, Tpr. Harper threatened him by saying, “stupid motherfucker, I hope you act up when we get to the fucking jail. I am going to punish you, dumb bitch. What the fuck is wrong with you, stupid motherfucker.” As Plaintiff pointed out, he was first to publish the reprehensible texts sent between four LSP troopers bragging of Harris’ beating. So how did Dakota DeMoss’s supervisor handle disciplining DeMoss (who was later fired for his role in the Ronald Greene beating only 13 days before Harris’ vicious beating)? Well, let’s take a look, shall we?: [Source: AP Article by Jim Mustian Dated March 12, 2021]:
The filings show DeMoss originally received only Counseling/Warning for his role in Harris’ beating, admonished for turning his FM radio up “extremely loud” during the chase and switching stations “in order to find the right song.”
The new court filings were first reported by Sound Off Louisiana, a local blog.
Plaintiff largely rests his arguments of just how nearly-incomprehensible Defendant LSP has stooped to demonstrated a propensity to abuse Letters of Counseling/Warning by making the above illustration alone!
As Plaintiff pointed out to this Honorable Court at the outset of this litigation (and emphasized to this Honorable Court in oral arguments on May 23, 2022 with an emphasis that he was not being flippant), Defendant LSP views the LSPC as being above The U. S. Supreme Court. LSPC’s Counsel, Ms. Feeney, acknowledges that fact as she states in her Amicus Brief: “Rules adopted hereto shall have the effect of law.” Wow!
Plaintiff submits that it was never the Louisiana Legislature’s intent, and it most certainly never was the intent of the people of the State of Louisiana when they passed an Amendment in 1991 to set up the LSPC, to end up putting in place a mechanism whereby LSP can 100 percent, T-totally control an out-of-control agency (the LSPC)! The LSPC, by staunchly opposing the release of Letters of Counseling/Warning, and declaring it “law” that they are off limits to the public has literally aided and abetted the kind of criminal conduct which is rampant throughout LSP.
Further, by the LSPC’s steadfast resolve that, “We determine what’s public record and what’s not,” the LSPC almost assuredly shields that criminal conduct from even being scrutinized by the public who provides both its own and LSP’s funding through taxes the public pays!
What’s particularly galling is that the LSPC makes that mandate sight-unseen in that not a single member of the LSPC has likely EVER examined a Letter of Counseling/Warning in the agency’s entire existence! Thus, the LSPC has no clue whatsoever (nor does it appear to care) the massive level of exploitation that may be inherent through these Letters of Counseling/Warning as demonstrated by the Dakota DeMoss example above.
As such, the LSPC has no clue whatsoever the degree to which it may likely have inhibited the public’s ability to be made aware of warning signs that major adverse episodes such as Ronald Greene, Aaron Bowman (who was making a simple return five-minute trip from his house from a Family Dollar store to buy shaving lotion and was pulled over for no apparent reason by a local Sheriff’s unit when, from out of nowhere, former LSP Troper Jacob Brown, son of former LSP Chief of Staff Robert Brown, showed up like Rambo on the scene and beat the living daylights out of him with a flashlight), and Antonio Harris were likely to transpire in the future.
In doing so, and particularly in continuing to maintain its dogmatic approach entailing the release of Letters of Counseling/Warning, each member of the present LSPC, in fighting the public release of problematic Trooper behavior, bears some of the blood of victims who die on their own hands!
Nevertheless, all Louisiana citizens can sleep well at night knowing that the LSPC is ensuring that, although these activities have been shielded from the public via the Letters of Counseling/Warning being declared off limits when making them public may have spared needless brutality and even deaths of Louisiana citizens, the LSPC can provide a very warm and comforting feeling to all Louisiana taxpayers that they are justified in blocking the release of such Letters of Counseling/Warning from being made public helps to ensure that no LSP Trooper may endure “embarrassment to the employee” as per LSPC Defense Counsel’s Feeney’s Amicus Brief.
Perhaps Defense Counsel for LSPC, Ms. Feeney, wishes to tell Ms. Mona Hardin, Ronald Greene’s mother, with whom Plaintiff has met with, enjoyed dinner with, and exchanged texts with her daughter on occasion that: “Well, I guess you may be a little disappointed in us that we only issued an initial Letter of Counseling/Warning to Trooper DeMoss when he beat Antonio Harris so viciously on May 23, 2019. We know that was only 13 days after your son was beaten to death, but we do ask you to make note of the fact that we did find him worthy of a Letter of Counseling/Warning because he was playing his FM radio too loud when riding to the scene. Now, Ms. Hardin, even though we know that former Trooper DeMoss did openly brag about that beating of Harris with four other of our other finest LSP Troopers via texts and, and while we realize that the incident, as I said, ma’am, on May 23, 2019, was only 13 days after the incident with your son, you see, Ms. Hardin, here’s the bottom line: If we would have made that Letter of Counseling/Warning for Trooper DeMoss playing his FM radio too loud and diligently searching for the right song to get pumped up to viscously beat Antonio Harris, had we made that Letter of Counseling/Warning public, well, ma’am, that just may have resulted in embarrassment to Trooper DeMoss. Surely you understand and can see where we’re coming from, can’t you, Ms. Hardin?”
If LSP’s system of “Counseling/Warning of its troopers to improve performance” is working so effectively, then why did the U. S. Justice Department Civil Rights’ Division feel a need to, on June 9, 2022, open a “pattern and practice” investigation into its practices? That is the first state-wide pattern and practice investigation that agency has lodged against any state-wide agency in over 20 years! Defendant LSP truly has made entry into the Hall of Shame from its criminal acts, and the LSPC is still, even after that major announcement, attempting to continue to provide cover for LSP!
As Burns said in the video, we’ll let everyone know how tomorrow’s court hearing goes!
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.