State Police colonel orders personnel not to destroy evidence tied to whistleblower's case
BATON ROUGE- State Police Colonel Lamar Davis issued a strongly worded memo to all of State Police last week ordering them not to destroy or discard records pertaining to Carl Cavalier, a whistleblower who was fired after doing an interview with WBRZ about coverups at the agency.
Cavalier came to the WBRZ Investigative Unit with notes from investigating trooper Albert Paxton last summer. Those notes documented a coverup tied to Ronald Greene's death three years ago. Greene led State Police on a high speed chase and was brutally beaten. However, his family was told he died in a crash.
Eight months after Cavalier's interview, he was terminated. Cavalier is now in the process of appealing his termination. His lawyer, Jill Craft, called it very late to be sending out preservation orders.
Things reached a boiling point last month when the former Colonel of State Police, Kevin Reeves, was held in contempt by the commission for ignoring a subpoena to be there.
"What it tells the public is exactly why First Amendment retaliation is against the law," Cavalier's lawyer, Jill Craft, said. "What it does is it stifles and chills the speech of legitimate patriots who are willing to stand up and say this is wrong this is what happened. I'll call it out. Instead, you reward people who are engaged in bad behavior."
"Departments shall preserve potential evidence by taking the appropriate steps to ensure that potential evidence relevant and associated with this matter is preserved and not deleted, damaged or destroyed," part of the document reads.
Earlier this year, Former Colonel Kevin Reeves admitted his phone was sanitized amid an ongoing state and federal investigation into Ronald Greene's death. The second in command at State Police, Lt. Colonel Doug Cain also had his phone sanitized. At the time, both gave shaky explanations as to why they had that done.
"The message it sends is you can kill somebody, right, commit horrific acts," Craft said. "What the governor calls criminal acts, nothing will happen to you but the guy who says the emperor has no clothes... you're fired."
This week, the State Police Commission will meet on Cavalier's case. They'll determine any penalties for Reeves after he was held in contempt for not adhering to a subpoena.
Meanwhile, Governor John Bel Edwards will testify before the capitol committee looking into Greene's death June 16.
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