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Photo becomes front and center in police inquiry

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DENHAM SPRINGS - A fired police officer is using a picture of an officer with his eyes closed to continue his fight against the department he worked for until he was terminated.

Thursday, Denham Springs Police Chief Scott Jones confirmed the officer in the picture is sergeant Russell Munsell. Munsell is on leave from the department and is under investigation.

"I can't look at the picture and tell when it was or where it was," Jones said.

But, Jones would not say if Munsell is on leave because of what happened in the picture.

Former officer Jared Kreamer accuses Munsell of having a drug problem and he discussed the issue before the Denham Springs Civil Service Commission Thursday evening.
He said a drug informant named Eugene Thill told him Munsell was buying drugs.

"Basically, Mr. Thill had laid it out there that he had made a drug transaction with Sgt. Munsell," Kreamer said.
The commission is investigating the Denham Springs Police following accusations Kreamer made previously. Last week, WBRZ reported on some of them, including allegations the department was covering up Munsell's drug problem.

Munsell claims he reported problems to his superiors but concerns went unnoticed. Specifically, he blames the chief and Captain Steve Kistler.

But, commissioners questioned the credibility of Kreamer's informant, Thill. Kreamer admitted Thill was probably high when he said he bought pain killers for Munsell.

"I would say he was probably under the influence or recently under the influence," he said.

An undercover officer who was with Kreamer at the time the informant accused Munsell of buying drugs also testified at the hearing. He backed up Kreamer's statements of what the informant said but confessed he did not know if Thill was telling the truth.

Jones maintains Kreamer never brought any allegations of a fellow officer's drug abuse to his attention and believes Kreamer is trying to shift blame away from his termination.

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