Trooper who spoke out about Ronald Greene death sues State Police, alleges racism within agency
BATON ROUGE - A state trooper who was suspended after he spoke with WBRZ about Ronald Greene's in-custody death and the ensuing cover-up has now sued Louisiana State Police, alleging that his superiors harassed and discriminated against him for years.
Carl Cavalier, who's worked at State Police since 2014, said the mistreatment began shortly after he issued a ticket to a Houma police officer in 2018. After that, Cavalier says all of his work as a trooper was put under extreme scrutiny by his superiors and he was subjected to harsh criticism compared to his fellow troopers.
The lawsuit filed Thursday also alleges that State Police personnel began harassing his immediate family over minor traffic violations. He said his written complaints went unaddressed by LSP administrators, leaving him unable to complete the grievance process established in agency policy.
Some of the top brass at LSP reportedly advised Cavalier to seek a transfer to a different department of the agency, which led to him requesting a transfer to the agency's Bureau of Investigations.
In October 2020, Cavalier asked the Trooper Employee Assistance Program to help to address the racism he'd encountered at work. According to the suit, Cavalier was told that TEAP members were not trained to handle complaints involving racism.
Cavalier reached out to his superiors about hostile work conditions at least three more times in the months that followed, culminating in a meeting with Superintendent Lamar Davis in February 2021. Davis told Cavalier he would look into the claims and suggested a book for him to read on the topic of racism.
In July, Cavalier met with Lt. Col. Kendrick Van Buren over a TV interview with WBRZ Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto. Cavalier had spoken about Ronald Greene's death in State Police custody and an apparent effort behind the scenes to shift blame away from troopers. Cavalier said Van Buren handed him a copy of the LSP code of ethics subsection dealing with media contact in reference to that interview.
A little over a week after that meeting, Cavalier was transferred from Narcotics to Gaming, a move he viewed as a demotion. Cavalier was also suspended for 200 hours, of which 40 were for a secondary employment violation and 160 were for "conduct unbecoming an officer."
Cavalier said he also plans to file Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Louisiana Commission on Human Rights complaints.
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