In April, during the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, state trooper Sgt. Billy L. Spears was reprimanded by the Texas Department of Public Safety and forced to attend counseling after posing in a photo with Snoop Dogg. DPS said that the photo reflected poorly on the agency.
The photo in question was uploaded by Snoop Dogg to his personal Instagram account, and Spears, who was working security during the music festival, was immediately reprimanded by a commanding official who drove 80 miles to do so after he saw the photo.
After being forced to attend mandatory counseling, Spears filed a lawsuit against DPS for what he claims were unjust disciplinary actions. According to the Associated Press, several emails from DPS Director Steve McCraw are now being used in the lawsuit by Spears' attorney.
"Apparently he would rather work the convention while on a week's vacation to earn additional money rather than take an additional tour on the border," McCraw wrote in the email, according to AP. "He must not understand that he was being lampooned by a dope smoking cop hater which reflects very poorly on the department."
More emails included in the lawsuit show that a DPS supervisor had explained that Spears wasn't the only trooper taking photos with celebrities during the festival. Other celebrities mentioned include Robert Duvall, Shaquille O'Neal, Cee Lo Green and Rob Zombie.
Spears' attorney, Ty Clevenger, alleges that Spears' disciplinary action was an act of retaliation because Spears previously spoke out about misconduct that was carried out by a commanding official. Spears is seeking unspecified damages in his lawsuit.