While most people who took their photos with Snoop Dogg at this year’s SXSW suffered little more than embarrassment, a Texas Department of Public Safety officer now has to undergo counseling. Trooper Billy Spears was called in to work security at the annual festival, when he was stopped by Mr. Dogg—who served as this year’s keynote speaker—and asked to take a photo. Mr. Dogg then posted that photo on his Instagram with the caption, “Me n my deputy dogg [gun emoji] [twinkly star emoji] [more twinkly stars emoji].” Like most people, Spears’ commanding officers were not amused.
According to the Dallas Morning News’ Christy Hoppe, Spears was reprimanded for “posing with a known criminal”—in this case Snoop Dogg, who has been charged several times with doing exactly what he constantly sings and talks about. There was also that case of murder he was given—and although he was acquitted, the question lingered of whether he would be the G that he was. In a way, the answer was yes, at least in the sense of authorities regarding 2015-era Snoop Dogg as a “known criminal.” The man tried to launch his own line of snack foods.
But according to Spears’ attorney, Ty Clevenger, who’s currently fighting the citation, the real reason for why his client is being punished hints at the byzantine, Machiavellian internal politics that is synonymous with the Texas police force. He believes the whole thing is just retaliation for the time Spears “reported a Alcoholic Beverage Commission officer last year for unprofessional conduct,” after said officer detained him while off duty, all because he “thought Billy disrespected him in public.” Spears was suspended but had it reversed on appeal; Clevenger believes Spears’ commanders are now “papering Billy’s file with counseling incidents” in order to punish him, which should definitely help with his learning to respect them.
In his blog post about the incident, Clevenger also says he believes the DPS found the Instagram photo by using facial recognition software to monitor its officers, insists Spears had no way of knowing about Snoop Dogg’s criminal history. (“Believe it or not, some folks don’t watch TMZ or read People Magazine”), and points to the rapper’s history of charity work, working with his youth football league, and other examples of Snoop’s overall softening. He also brings up the salient point that Spears’ superiors likely wouldn’t “get so bent out of shape about a picture with Willie Nelson,” another “known criminal” by DPS standards.
Being indirectly responsible for a police officer’s disciplinary counseling is believed to be the most gangsta thing Snoop Dogg has done since 1993.