Thursday, October 27, 2016

Troopers acquitted

Five Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers were acquitted of charges they wrote phony tickets at an administrative hearing held Monday.  JJ reported last week  that the troopers were busted for allegedly writing ghost DUI tickets so they could get paid under a federal DUI enforcement program. Earlier post.

The NHTSA offers grants to law enforcement agencies for DUI enforcement.  The grant pays troopers to work DUI enforcement on their off days. Such an arrangement has several benefits.  The troopers have an opportunity to earn more money.   The Mississippi Highway Patrol gets to put more troopers in the field to arrest drunk drivers at no extra cost.  

The troopers in question were allegedly writing fake tickets to turn in with their grant paperwork but were not submitting the tickets to Justice Court or taking anyone to jail.  The feds found discrepancies and investigated. DPS conducted its own investigation and charged the five troopers.  It should be noted that these troopers were a pack made up of former MHP Colonel Don Berry's pets.

The Governor held an old-fashioned knock-down drag-out meeting with Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Santa Cruz and other law enforcement officials on September 16 after he was blind-sided by newspaper reports of  the settling of several sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuits by their respective agencies.  The Governor told them to shape things up or else some heads would roll. The word "woodshed" comes to mind.  The Internal Affairs investigation began on September 19.  The defendants were charged on October 7.   

A hearing was held for each trooper last Monday.  MHP chose to have former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Fred Banks adjudicate the hearings instead of following its usual practice of using a board comprised of MHP officers decide the matter.    The chief defendant was Master Sergeant Marshall Pack.  The Master Sergeant has served at the MHP for over twenty years and is the commander of the SWAT team.

Mr. Pack admitted to writing nine tickets under the federal program in a polygraph test and did so again in the hearing.  However, the tickets were written under the "E-Ticket" system.  Several copies are made of each e-ticket.  Master Sergeant Pack did not turn in his (yellow) copies as required but the actual charges were made against the drivers cited.   Jail records showed the names of the ticketed drivers who actually went to jail.  However, some DUI-other tickets were issued to impaired drivers. Those drivers were allowed to call someone to come get them and their vehicles and thus did not appear in any jail records.

 Justice Banks accepted his defense and acquitted him of the complaint.  Mr. Pack's attorney, Ben Wilson, said "Today, Captain Pack was cleared of any alleged wrongdoing by the Performance Review Board."  He acquitted the other four troopers as well. 

Kingfish note: Just one more chapter in the buffoonery that is the rule of Santa Cruz.  The Commissioner only has a GED and doesn't even know how to turn on a computer.   His administration has been plagued by lawsuits and repeated examples of ineptitude.  The Commissioner is so clueless that he does not attend budget hearings any more because he does not understand his own budget.   The question is whether he is capable of understanding it. 


Anonymous said...

So they were acquitted by Internal Affairs? So, drunk drivers weren't jailed ?
These tickets were to defraud the feds?
I don't really understand why what they did is OK.

Anonymous said...

Do they really expect people to respect these thieves? I used to have respect for the highway patrol. Now I am disgusted by them. I consider them worse than any common criminal. At least we are not told to respect the thugs who steal and rob people. Now I consider a highway patrol a common thug underserving of any respect.

Anonymous said...

As usual the good guys get lumped in with the bad guy. The really scary part is that the leadership of MHP is seemingly condoning the conduct which now creates a serious morale issue for the good guys. There will be no respect until this is cleaned up

Anonymous said...

No, it clearly says that the "DUI OTHER" drivers were allowed to call rides and that the DRUNK drivers were taken to jail. More likely than not, the drivers that were allowed to call rides were probably smoking weed at some point. They were still charged, but not taken to jail. And at the end of the day, the officers got impaired drivers off the road. They could've killed any one of you or your families! An officer has the discretion to those things!. So no, they didn't still shit from the Feds. Y'all kill me. Read to understand. The highway patrol didn't make the decision to keep nor fire them, nor did ANY troopers for that matter. A JUDGE released them based off the evidence that was provided. So please tell me what this has to do with the Commissioner?

Sigh Reene said...

10:43 - What you conveniently miss is that this was not 'a judge' releasing anybody. It was an administrative hearing with a hearing officer who, incidentally, used to be or is a judge. This was not a court of law. By any other name, it was a prearranged circus.

What was the race of the five 'defendants'? This reminds me of the roadside justice of the Highway Patrol back in the sixties where a patrolman would pull you over and you had to follow him down the highway a piece to a shack where a JP sat who would collect and split your money with the patrolman who had a revolving molasses-can on top of his Pontiac.

Anonymous said...

What's the family relationship between poster 10:43 and Santa Cruz?

Anonymous said...

Let me see, the US Gov wants to pay to put more law enforcement out there. More chances for death because of officers and more chances officers could be killed. Win-Win for someone but not the officers!

Hello, good news I from the Government and I am her to help! Bad new help is for me not you.

noel said...

That seems like a pretty easy administrative task that should have never seen charges it there was proper oversight?

Ghost of Otis Campbell said...

Well....this kangaroo hearing does not diminish the fact that there is still a very real potential for a federal investigation. And the hierarchy at MHP won't get to select the judge if that happens.

Does this sound sorta like when Andy sat at his desk and turned his sheriff name plate around and it said Justice O Peace?

Anonymous said...

Just real hard to respect law enforcement when they steal from the people. Especially when they get caught and are able to get out of going to court.
I can understand why some people do not trust law enforcement.
Who does a person call when it is the cops who are stealing from them?

Anonymous said...

But they are the most elite law enforcement agency in the state... don't believe it just ask one. Bunch of clowns. Must be what they learn in the other 12 weeks they go to trooper school.

Anonymous said...

Remember in the 30s Germany had the Black Boots and Hitler eventually had his SS officers. here we are again. I have seen these guys driving person cars around 100 MPH after drinking. I am scared to turn them in for fear of retribution. While we are on this subject, why do they pass me on the interstate doing 85 to 100 mph WITHOUT THERE LIGHTS BLINKING OR FLASHERS ON? Wasn't the governor a MHP officer?

Anonymous said...

12:49, you obviously are a police officer or deputy who didn't make it through their school. The whole hearing process has always been done in front of other Troopers. They would decide if the officer was guilty or not of the charges they were charged with. The higher ups knew that if these Troopers were tried in front of their peers that they would be found guilty and they would have to be terminated. That's why they brought in a retired judge to hear the evidence. It was rigged from the beginning. The group in question were some of Donnell Berry's cronies that had been in trouble numerous times before and never disciplined. Those same few could do anything short of being CONVICTED of a felony and still keep their jobs. The other Troopers that didn't commit any violations are furious with this whole debacle, because if it had been one of the Troopers that wasn't in the "clique", they would've been fired and most likely indicted. If dps would just get rid of a few bad apples, the rest would be fine. Now that a standard has been set, it will take an act of congress to fire anyone for anything. It's a sad time for the MHP.

Anonymous said...

If the Gov. doesn't clean this mess up then it shows he is the problem by turning a blind eye to things.
This state is going to $hit quickly (not that it is a long trip).

Anonymous said...

No 3:01, never tried, never will. Im a real cop. But you've apparently had enough of the kool aid

East Bound And Down.. said...

No, the governor was never an MHP officer, but he plays one on a regular basis. Wearing a FEMA windbreaker allows him to ride in the back seat at 92 mph.

"Holy Shit! This thang'll go won't it? Hope y'all don't mind mud of'n my boots back here. If them winders wudden darked-out I could wave."

Anonymous said...

3:01, It looks like we do not really have that many real troopers. Unless my idea of a trooper is outdated. In my opinion troopers were supposed to be honest people we could trust. Instead we have a bunch of thugs who would steal from their own mother. What part of the school teaches them it their job to steal from the people they are supposed to protect?

Anonymous said...

Is there a more ethically bankrupt organization than the Highway Patrol? Seriously, will ANY of these people EVER be held to account for ANY of the crooked shit they've done? This is sad, pathetic, and an embarrassment and people are getting tired of hearing a new MHP scandal every week. And don't forget, while they're dealing with all of this bullshit, they're not doing their jobs (whatever the hell that may be).

COME ON PHIL, do you want your legacy to be suborning a crooked and corrupt state patrol, or do you want to be seen as a decisive leader who knows how to hold his staff to account. It's time to salvage what's left of your legacy...the clock is ticking.

Anonymous said...

Pack just can't seem to catch a break, he gets caught at every dumbass thing he does, maybe he needs to find something else to do for a living.

Anonymous said...

8:45, he may get caught but nothing is done about it. Sounds like it has come to where the troopers do not really care if they get caught breaking the law. The know it will be swept under the rug. I would advise those who do not bow down to them to find another form of transportation.

Anonymous said...

All the Real Troopers have either retired or just staying to make their years. Once it was an honor to work for the Mississippi Highway Patrol but now it is a joke. The ones that have retired or left got tired of the so called good ole boys getting promoted over and over again and not deserving the first promotion that they got. It seems like the more you do against the black book as a trooper the better you are. There are only a few good ones left.

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