INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Trooper calls co-worker 'f****** n*****'; no discipline from state police
UPDATE: On Thursday evening, the NAACP Baton Rouge Branch responded to the allegations against Louisiana State Trooper August McKay in a Facebook post, saying McKay "should be forced to immediately resign" and calling his actions "deplorable."
Click here to view the NAACP's full statement.
BATON ROUGE - A Louisiana State Trooper who was caught calling an African-American trooper a "f****** n*****" while he was on duty was kicked off of a federal task force, but Louisiana State Police now have him doing undercover drug cases for them.
What's most alarming, according to corruption watchdogs, is the slap on the wrist he was supposed to get, and Louisiana State Police couldn't even implement that.
When the situation was brought to light in 2017, an investigation was conducted and revealed August McKay used the racist slur. A letter of reprimand, effectively a slap on the wrist, was supposed to be given to McKay for violating Louisiana State Police policy regarding discrimination. It was signed by Colonel Kevin Reeves and sent to the Captain over Troop L, John Riles. Riles did not ever deliver the letter to McKay, so McKay was never disciplined.
Riles was promoted to Major a few weeks ago.
FEDS REMOVE MCKAY FROM TASK FORCE
Once this situation came to light, sources say the feds removed McKay from a task force that he was working on with concerns over his behavior.
"The most valuable asset of anyone in law enforcement is their credibility and integrity," said Rafael Goyeneche, a corruption watchdog. "Based on what state police have documented, this trooper doesn't have any credibility or integrity and his presence in street investigations is compromising the important work being done by law enforcement."
Although McKay was removed from the federal task force, Louisiana State Police currently have him working in an undercover capacity. Our sources said he's working undercover narcotics operations near New Orleans.
A source came to the WBRZ Investigative Unit in late June wondering how McKay could use the slur and nothing happen by LSP top brass.
On July 17, 2020, the WBRZ Investigative Unit requested "any and all reports and recordings tied to an EEOC complaint between August McKay and the trooper who was called the n-word."
Faye Morrison, the Assistant Secretary of DPS Office of Legal Affairs, responded seven days later saying the records we wanted are not public.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit submitted a subsequent request asking for McKay's disciplinary file. Those records were made available for our viewing on Aug. 14, 2020. Problem is, the letter where McKay called another trooper the "n-word" was removed from his file.
We asked about it, and that's when Morrison admitted that she drafted the letter and Colonel Kevin Reeves signed it.
Five days later, the letter was turned over to the WBRZ Investigative Unit with the words McKay used redacted.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit informed Morrison that the words McKay used are not protected for redaction. More time passes, and the unredacted letter was finally provided to us.
"I believe they are truly embarrassed by the fact that your station has found this out and is holding them accountable for it, and rightfully so," Goyeneche said. "There is no justifiable explanation for this."
Despite Colonel Kevin Reeves signing a letter of reprimand, the letter was given to Captain John Riles at Troop L to impose on McKay. Riles never did that.
The problem eventually traces right back to leaders at LSP Headquarters as no one bothered to check if Riles disciplined McKay for it.
By the time it was discovered, the state police timeframe ran out to discipline McKay. So, nothing happened to McKay. He was issued a letter of counseling. Letters of counseling are not considered discipline and are not public records, according to Morrison. State Police would not provide us with that letter of counseling or the recording of McKay using the n-word, even though we requested both.
"Is this an isolated incident," Goyeneche asked. "Has it happened in other occurrences? Something as fundamental as this, it's as simple as once it's signed by the superintendent and given to the troop, the troop commander gives it to the officer or the trooper. That's so fundamental and wasn't done. Why?"
STATE POLICE ASKED WBRZ NOT TO AIR THIS STORY
After promising transparency to WBRZ management when he was first appointed, Colonel Kevin Reeves has largely avoided interviews with WBRZ when it comes to controversial topics.
As we were preparing this investigative report, the Colonel's right hand- a Major- called the WBRZ Investigative Unit asking us NOT to air this story.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit put in a formal request to interview Colonel Kevin Reeves about this story Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.
We were told he had a busy schedule, but they would check for any availability. We have not heard back.
Why did Louisiana State Police not want WBRZ to do this story?
Who instructed the Major to call the Investigative Unit requesting WBRZ not air the story?
Why is McKay still working undercover drug cases when he was kicked off of a federal task force?
Why did state police not discipline McKay?
Why was the suggested discipline a letter of reprimand?
Why did no one follow up?
With few answers, Goyeneche believes McKay's use of the n-word will continue to have far-reaching impacts, as long as state police keep him employed.
"State police have an obligation to inform every prosecutor office handling a case in which this trooper participated in the investigation against an arrested subject," Goyeneche said.