On April 25, 2022, Louisiana State Police Trooper Scott Lopez explains to St. Martin Parish Sheriff Deputy Baily Romero just how “bad it is” at LSP with troopers “dropping like flies” while Lopez’s son, Benjamin, works diligently on his own little project.
On April 25, 2022, St. Martin Parish Sheriff Deputy Baily Romero dropped by the residence of Louisiana State Police (LSP) Trooper Scott Lopez for a friendly chat. During that chat, with Romero’s body cam running because he was on official duty, Lopez proceeded to lampoon LSP’s existing operations to include indicating that there’s a mass exodus of troopers, that they are, “dropping like flies,” that, “nobody would want this job,” and that, “it’s so bad troopers pulling in $150,000 to $160,000 are leaving.”
Romero, for his part, said that not a single St. Martin Parish Sheriff Deputy had any interest in applying at LSP for the most recent training academy. Romero further added, upon hearing Lopez indicate that LSP is a “revolving door” of troopers leaving and being hired, that, “Oh, yeah. It will only go downhill from here.”
Lopez even stressed the fact that, even $80/hour – $83/hour for troopers working LACE, is not enough to keep troopers on staff with LSP because, “that’s how bad it is.” Romero also indicated, “People don’t like change,” in reference to a new technology being deployed by LSP for crash reports (E-Crash, which Lopez stated “sucks.”)
Let’s take just a couple of minutes to sit in on the friendly little chat between Lopez and Romero of April 25, 2022 at this time:
April 25, 2022: Lopez emphasizes to Romero just how bad it is to work at LSP now, and Romero chimes in that, “It will only go downhill from here.”
As we’ve stated, we’ve gotten tons of emails and phone calls from male white troopers both before (and even more after) we published this feature entailing white male troopers allegedly resigning in droves at LSP. We also received an email indicating that LSP has little choice but to, “choose among slim pickings” to replace these troopers because of recruitment problems and the lack of high-caliber people willing to apply to enter the LSP Training Academy.
The fact that so many LSP Troopers were willing to assist Cadets in a years-long Training Academy cheating scandal reinforces the notion that LSP is having to resort to enrolling folk in the Academy largely incapable of learning the material and demonstrating competence on the job. That fact, in turn has led to tons of lawsuits against LSP for which these greenhorns (Domingue, Reeves, etc.) are responsible for LSP being named defendant.
Troopers have also sent us emails expressing concern about LSP’s May 27, 2018 hiring of, “incompetent, grossly-negligent Malachi Hull,” though we want to make sure everyone knows that specific hire transpired under the leadership of disgraced former LSP Col. Kevin Reeves (whom we view as an even bigger disaster of a Colonel than Davis) rather than current LSP Col. Davis. Nevertheless, from the preceding article:
Malachi Hull, who Mayor Mitch Landrieu sacked Friday, oversaw a Taxicab Bureau in disarray, where not only did documents go missing and bills uncollected but agency employees carried mace and handcuffs and acted like a quasi-police force.
“It’s a given the guy had to go,” said Sidney Smith, the owner of Haunted History Tours who helped lead a protest against Hull in November.
In October, investigator Ronnie Blake hit cab driver Emmanuel Esterlin doused him with pepper spray and handcuffed him. In November, investigator Wilton Joiner twisted tour guide Wendy Bosma’s arm behind her back and slammed her onto a hood of a car.
Both incidents were caught on video. Prosecutors charged Joiner with simple battery in November and Blake with aggravated battery in May. Both men were fired in April. Their attorneys dispute they used excessive force.
The run-ins started over minor offenses– Blake approached Esterlin for illegally parking on Dauphine Street in the French Quarter. Joiner confronted Bosma near the corner of Gov. Nicholls and Royal streets for apparently operating too close to another tour.
Hull, who was present when Joiner confronted Bosma, did not prevent these incidents and ignored warnings that Blake and Joiner were out of control, according to the report. Attorney Tom Shlosman recently filed civil rights lawsuits against Hull, Joiner, Blake, and the city on behalf Esterlin and Bosma.
Scores of tour guides, taxi drivers, and buggy drivers marched on City Hall on Nov. 22 to protest Hull’s continued employment and criticize the Landrieu administration’s silence over the incidents.
The IG’s report also notes that prior to the Esterlin and Bosma incidents, Hull had received several warnings about Blake and Joiner but continued to allow them operate without restraint. Kristen Morales, an IG investigator, sent Hull an Oct. 21, 2013 email requesting that he remove Joiner from the field pending an investigation. Hull admitted in his December interview with the IG that he ignored the request because his office was suffering from a shortage of personnel.
On top of Hull’s inability to control or reign in his investigators, his management of the office was also considered a failure.
Inspector General investigators sampled 500 taxi permits, discovering 80 percent had paid the incorrect amount in fees or fines. For example, one person who owned 189 CPNCs owed the city $62,370 in transfer fees. The IG investigator notified Hull multiple times about the large discrepancy, but Hull “failed to act” for 18 months.
The IG also found that most of the permit files were incomplete with important documents missing.
“OIG investigators found CPNC documents under desks, behind desks, behind file cabinets, in the storage room, in two different recycling bins, in the employee break room and misfiled,” according to the report.
In one instance, an Orleans Parish assistant district attorney couldn’t find documents needed for trial. An IG investigator found them under a taxicab bureau employee’s desk.
Hull knew about the incident but didn’t do anything to fix it, according to the report.
Anyone is welcome to read the full report by clicking here. Because the concerns of troopers about having someone like Hull wearing a uniform, with one retired trooper going so far as to state, “the real troopers both active and retired are as disgusted with what this bunch has done to state police as anybody is. They resent the double standards and lack of accountability,” we decided to make a public records request of the Louisiana State Police Commission for all of Hull’s hiring paperwork. Anyone is welcome to review that paperwork by clicking here.
As referenced in the article above, the city and two inspectors were sued for alleged civil rights violations under Hull’s watch. Anyone is welcome to click here for Emmanuel Esterlin’s Federal Civil Rights suit or to click here for Wendy Bosma’s Federal Civil Rights suit. The outcomes of those two suits were this settlement to Esterlin and this settlement to Bosma.
Meanwhile, Hull filed his own Federal Civil Rights lawsuit. That suit was dismissed by the Federal Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana for failure to state a Cause of Action. Hull appealed to the Fifth Circuit, and that body rendered this judgment basically saying that Hull’s attorney was too incompetent (birds of a feather?) to amend the lawsuit within the 20 days permitted by the Court or to show good cause why the attorney was unable to do that within the time frame the court granted.
As is obvious by Hull’s employment material linked above, he made no effort to hide his termination. He simply explains it away by indicating [see page three (3)], “Wrongfully terminated by City of New Orleans after voicing concerns about public safety risks associated with unlicensed for hire picking up passengers.” More specifically, Hull claims he was fired for speaking out against Uber. Given how Hull operated the department in which he was tasked with heading, Uber sure sounds like a great avenue for a ride to us!
It appears Romero’s recent words of, “It will only go downhill from here,” were just as applicable four years ago as they are now if not even more so. Add it all up, and, by our math, it totals an LSP in complete and total disarray with no signs whatsoever of improvement anytime soon!
Special credit for this feature is extended to LSP Trooper Scott Lopez and St. Martin Parish Sheriff Deputy Baily Romero for their starring roles in the above video.
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