A Texas state trooper was reprimanded for posing for a photo with rapper Snoop Dogg at the South By Southwest festival in Austin last month because the rapper has several convictions for drug possession on his record.
Trooper Billy Spears was working the event in March when the hip-hop artist asked to take a picture. Snoop Dog posted the picture to his Instagram account with the comment, “Me n my deputy dogg.”
Spears’ attorney Ty Clevenger told the Dallas Morning News Snoop Dogg’s publicist took the photo.
Texas Department of Public Safety cited Spears for deficiencies that require counseling by a supervisor.
Spears' attorney said the trooper didn't know about the rapper's criminal record. The citation isn't a formal disciplinary action, so Spears can't appeal.
“While working a secondary employment job, Trooper Spears took a photo with a public figure who has a well-known criminal background including numerous drug charges,” the reprimand read. “The public figure posted the photo on social media and it reflects poorly on the Agency.”
Clevenger said Spears had no idea of the rapper’s prior convictions. Spears’ attorney also said that he believes the reprimand is retaliatory because Spears reported an Alcoholic Beverage Commission officer for improper conduct last year.
Snoop Dogg also took a photograph with an Austin policewoman. A police department spokeswoman said officers may not associate with known criminals, but the photo didn't constitute "inappropriate association."
The Associated Press contributed to this report