A Texas state trooper has been ordered to get counseling (pdf) after posing in a photo with Snoop Dogg. Sgt. Billy L. Spears met the rapper while working at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, earlier this month, and posed with him while in uniform. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the photo, which was posted to Snoop Dogg’s Instagram account, “reflects poorly on the agency.”
The Dallas Morning News reported that after the photo was posted, a commanding official drove 80 miles round-trip to Austin to deliver the counseling order to Spears.
“While working a secondary employment job, Trooper Spears took a photo with a public figure who has a well-known criminal background, including numerous drug charges,” reads the counseling order. “The public figure posted the photo on social media, and it reflects poorly on the agency.”
According to Ty Clevenger, Spears’ attorney, his client didn’t ask to take the photo with Snoop Dogg; it was a request from the rapper’s publicist. Clevenger also said that Spears had no idea of Snoop Dogg’s background because “believe it or not, some folks don’t watch TMZ or read People magazine.”
Clevenger alleged on his personal blog that the mandatory counseling is an act of retaliation because Spears has previously spoken about misconduct that was carried out by a fellow law-enforcement officer. The attorney also mentioned that because this counseling is now on his client’s permanent record, it could block future promotions and/or advancement, even though the agency says it’s not a form of discipline.
Spears’ attorney also wondered if it would have mattered if the celebrity had been someone else with a criminal record. “So what’s the big deal? Would the DPS hierarchy get so bent out of shape about a picture with Willie Nelson?” Clevenger asked.
Clevenger is seeking to have the counseling order removed from his client’s permanent record.