Texas: Trooper Ordered Into Counseling After Being Photographed With Snoop Dogg
By Steve Elliott
A Texas state trooper has been reprimanded and forced to undergo "counseling" after being photographed with music legend Snoop Dogg.
Trooper Billy Spears, who was pictured in uniform beside the rapper at the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, is now fighting back, according to his lawyer, arguing that while he agreed to be photographed, he didn't realized the famed rapper had marijuana convictions, or that they'd affect him, reports Nina Golgowski at the New York Daily News.
"Martha Stewart, she's a convicted felon," said Spears' attorney, Ty Clevenger. "What about Randy Travis? He's had run-ins with the law."
Snoop Dogg posted the photo, taken last month, on Instagram after apparently requesting the photo himself while serving as the keynote speaker at SXSW. Spears' superiors in the department eventually saw the photo, that didn't identify Spears or the department by name, and were not amused.
"Me n my deputy dogg," Snoop captioned the shot on Instagram.
"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 reprimand, obtained by
In a prepared statement released by the Texas Department of Public Safety on Wednesday, they declined to release specifics about his case but claimed they don’t consider the reprimand to be "formal discipline."
"Supervisors counsel and coach employees on a regular basis, and these efforts do not constitute formal discipline by the department," the statement reads.
“It's weird; it's nuts and we're waiting on DPS to explain itself,” Clevenger said. "Everyone keeps asking me if this is an April Fool's joke. I say 'no, I promise it's not.'"
Clevenger suggested that the reprimand may, in fact, have stemmed from a prior situation involving Spears last year.
That's when Spears reported an Alcoholic Beverage Commission officer for unprofessional conduct, his lawyer said said. That complaint resulted in an investigation against Spears and his suspension which was later overturned when the trooper was cleared of all wrongdoing.
Photo: Snoop Dogg/Instagram