A former reserve law enforcement officer from southwest Louisiana has filed a formal complaint against a state trooper and his then-captain over an ongoing feud with State Trooper Jimmy Rogers that was the subject of an earlier LouisianaVoice story. http://louisianavoice.com/2015/08/12/the-stark-reality-of-jindal-administrations-double-standards-found-in-discipline-of-state-trooper-for-text-phone-threats/
The latest complaint marks the second time Rogers has become confrontational with individuals in Troop D and yet he has been assigned to work in the Troop D area school systems as a State Police School Resource Officer.
It is the third formal complaint that Dwight Gerst has attempted to file against Rogers and the second against Maj. Chris Guillory after Guillory refused to act on—or even accept—Gerst’s first complaint against Rogers last year. State Police Internal Affairs likewise never followed up on Gerst’s complaint that the state trooper stalked him at his home and at his child’s school in his state police vehicle.
Guillory refused to accept Gerst’s initial attempt at filing the complaint against Rogers, telling Gerst that he had “a problem” with Gerst and would not talk about his complaint until his “problem” was resolved. That “problem” was a festering dispute with Rogers that began in earnest when Gerst picked up two children from school and drove them home. Gerst says he had a reciprocal agreement with a neighbor whereby either parent could pick up the other’s child after school, but one of the children he picked up was Roger’s child.
Rogers, however, would seem to have problems of his own, judging from that heavily redacted nine-page disciplinary letter to him from State Police Commander Col. Mike Edmonson. In that Nov. 19, 2010, letter, Rogers was informed he would receive a 240-hour reduction in pay (a 10 percent reduction for 30 pay periods, which amounted to a $4,845.60 cut in pay) for repeated verbal threats of bodily harm and arrest directed to another man with whom he was feuding.
A court document filed by the mother of Rogers’s child and obtained by LouisianaVoice described Rogers as having “a lengthy history of abuse as well as (a) violent temperament.” The petition further said that Rogers had threatened to kill her and her family. The woman also requested that Rogers be entitled to supervised visitation of the child.
Despite the discipline meted out by Edmonson for the threats against the mother and her family, and despite Gerst’s attempt to file the complaint against him that was refused by Guillory, and never acted upon by State Police hierarchy, Rogers was nevertheless reassigned by Guillory this year as School Resource Officer to work in the Troop D area schools. SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER
Last August, Gerst picked up the neighbor’s nine-year-old child and Rogers’s five-year-old child who was left in the care of the older child. He said he took the children “straight home,” a distance of some 400 yards and then notified Rogers via text. Upon receiving the text, Rogers became infuriated. He subsequently pulled Gerst over at the school and demanded proof that he was authorized to pick up his own son and a niece and nephew. Gerst said Rogers was in uniform and was driving a state police vehicle in which two children were riding at the time.
When Guillory refused to accept Gerst’s formal complaint against Rogers, Gerst took his complaint up the chain of command, to State Police headquarters in Baton Rouge but that complaint was never addressed by Baton Rouge.
A state police spokesperson acknowledged on Monday (Aug. 17), however that Internal Affairs was investigating “some serious allegations” at Troop D Though he did not specify what the nature of those allegations were, they are probably related to Gerst’s latest complaint filed last week.
Following his complaint to State Police headquarters last year, Gerst was arrested and booked on $15,000 bail for two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Though the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office declined to make an arrest, it was made at the behest of the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office. Rogers and Guillory were said to have met with the district attorney representatives to push for the charges against Gerst.
After the prosecution presented its case at Gerst’s trial, the case was apparently so weak that the presiding judge issued a directed verdict of not guilty before Gerst’s attorneys even found it necessary to put on a defense. A directed verdict is an order given when the presiding judge finds that no reasonable jury could reach a decision to the contrary.
In his latest complaint, Gerst said he knew Rogers and the two communicated regularly. He said he picked up his neighbor’s nine-year-old daughter who was with Rogers’s five-year-old. “It was a hot day and I thought that someone was not able to pick the children up because children that young seem too young to walk home without supervision,” he said. “I had authorization from the parents to pick up the nine-year-old from school and they had the same permission for picking up my children. Jimmy was very angry and I told him it would not happen again.” He said after that incident, Rogers began stalking him. “He parked outside my home while off duty in his state police patrol vehicle and in uniform on several occasions.”
Later, he said he was in line to pick up his child at school and Rogers was behind him in his marked unit and in uniform. “He put the nine-year-old and his son in the patrol vehicle,” he said. “He then approached me (and) demanded I get out of my vehicle. He then questioned me about my authority to pick up my niece and nephew from school. The stop was made with two children in his state police vehicle. He left the children in the vehicle while he questioned me about whether I had authorization to be there,” Gerst said.
Gerst said he attempted to file a complaint at Troop D. “I met with Captain Guillory,” he said. “Lt. Cyprien was also present. Before I got the chance to tell Guillory that I wanted to file a complaint, he informed me that if I was there to file a complaint, he would not accept a complaint from me. He said he thought I had problems and he was not doing anything until there was a disposition on my case from the sheriff’s office. He further said that he had a problem with me personally and professionally and he would not accept any complaint I may have.”
After being turned away by Guillory, Gerst said he contacted State Police Internal Affairs. “I attempted to file a formal complaint on Rogers,” he said. “I also attempted to file a complaint on Guillory for refusing to take my complaint. I had to drive to Baton Rouge to file my complaint (and) I have yet to hear the disposition of either complaint.”
Gerst said that after filing the complaint in Baton Rouge, he feels that he has been the victim of retaliation that included the revocation of his law enforcement commission. The worst part of that retaliation, he said, “was the subsequent arrest and prosecution. At trial, the prosecutor informed my defense attorney that he knew the charges were not justified but the state police (were) pushing it. We were not required to put up a defense and the judge issued a directed verdict of not guilty.”
In his latest complaint, Gerst also cited Guillory for his refusal to accept his initial complaint against Rogers last year.