Snoop Dogg is one of a handful of rappers who’ve manage to permeate every aspect of culture. That said, Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Billy Spears seized the moment, taking a photo with the rapper following his keynote address at SXSW.
The picture was later shared on Snoop’s Instagram page.
Unfortunately for Spears, his superiors saw the pic as reprehensible, considering Snoop’s past run-ins with the law (he has several drug convictions and faced a murder charge in 1993).
According to the Dallas Morning-News, DPS officials cited the officer “for deficiencies that require counseling,” because he was photographed with a known criminal.
Harsh, right? Well, Spears’ attorney Ty Clevenger isn’t taking the situation lightly and in a detailed blog post expresses his discrepancies with DPS.
“Would the DPS hierarchy get so bent out of shape about a picture with Willie Nelson?,” asks Clevenger, insinuating that race could be a factor.
Part of the angst Clevenger expressed on Spears’ behalf is rooted in the reprimand, which cannot be appealed since it wasn’t a formal disciplinary action.
Clevenger also mentions that a prior incident involving his client and a fellow trooper could have something to do with DPS’ actions:
[T]he disciplinary counseling appears to be the latest act of retaliation against Billy since he reported misconduct by an officer from another agency last year.
According to multiple witnesses, Sgt. Marcus Stokke of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission detained Billy without probable cause while Billy was off duty. It appears that Sgt. Stokke thought Billy disrespected him in public (a charge disputed by Billy and other witnesses), but then “disrespecting the po-po” is not supposed to be a crime in this country.
The DPS haven’t budged on their ruling. Also, an Austin Police officers took a pic with Snoop as well, and didn’t see one-fourth of the trouble.