Tommy Lewis, a high-ranking state police lieutenant in Troop F in Monroe was cited by the Mississippi Gaming Commission in April of 2010 for sneaking an underage woman who was not his wife into the gaming area of Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg. He apparently did so in defiance of state law barring anyone under the age of 21 from entering the playing area, according to documents obtained from both Louisiana State Police, the Mississippi Gaming Commission, and from Warren County (Mississippi) Justice Court.
He was subsequently promoted to commander of Troop F by State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson.
Lewis, who upon being caught, attempted to use his position as a law enforcement officer to “work something out,” was fined $627 by a Vicksburg justice of the peace and was suspended 40 hours without pay by Edmonson.
A trip to Vicksburg by LouisianaVoice turned up nothing. A Helpful deputy we encountered at the courthouse there, however, made several calls on our behalf and learned that the court record had been expunged. But the Mississippi Gaming Commission in Jackson still had records of the citation and Lewis’s court appearance at which he entered a guilty plea. Those documents were mailed to us pursuant to our public records request.
Expunging court records is a costly process. The person seeking the action must pay attorney fees and court costs which, together, can total several hundred dollars.
Three years later, Edmonson promoted Lewis to the rank of captain and named him commander of Troop F. He currently makes $131,000 per year in that position. Lewis was among higher ranking state police officers whom Edmonson assured legislators earlier this year would not be among those getting 30 percent pay increases as a result of two separate pay raise bills for state police passed within six months of each other.
In fact, Lewis, a native of Ferriday and a distant relative of rock and roll singer Jerry Lee Lewis, went from $83,640 per year at the first of the year to $124,150 with the first pay raise on March 1 and then to his current salary on June 24, an overall pay increase of 56.6 percent.
Troop F includes the 12 northeast Louisiana parishes of Jackson, Lincoln, Union, Ouachita, Caldwell, Morehouse, East and West Carroll, Madison, Richland, Tensas and Franklin.
LouisianaVoice obtained a four-page letter of August 2, 2010, in which Edmonson reviewed the events of April 15, 2010, when Lewis, then making $74,200 per year as Executive Officer of LSP Troop F, traveled with seven friends by limousine on a “guys” trip from Monroe to the Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg.
Also obtained were records of the Mississippi State Gaming Commission and Warren County (Vicksburg) Justice Court. Those records were damaged in the mail and at first, only a damaged but empty envelope was received. Days later, the damaged but still readable letter arrived.
Copies of all documents may be examined at the bottom of this story. The damages to the Mississippi documents is readily discernable.
The Edmonson letter further noted that the men were “accompanied by three young ladies hired by the owner of the limo to tend bar during the trip.”
A check of four separate companies in Baton Rouge and New Orleans by LouisianaVoice failed to turn up any limousine services that provide bartenders, female or otherwise. “None of the limo services that I’m aware of provide that service,” said a representative of a New Orleans limo service. “The bars in the limos are very small. That sounds more like escorts than bartenders,” she added.
“Upon entering the casino it was announced that one of the young ladies…was 20 years old and underage, with regard to admission into the casino,” Edmonson wrote. Lewis would have been in his early to mid-40s at the time, according to one source.
Edmonson said Lewis admitted to drinking “during the limo ride and at least two more times in the casino” and that he further admitted that he was aware that the woman was only 20 and that he “accepted the ‘Under 21 minor card’ that was provided for her at the entrance of the casino.
Edmonson said Lewis told investigators that he and the woman “pretended to comply with the security officer’s instructions” regarding the woman’s not being allowed in the playing area of the casino but that the two “had full intentions to enter the playing area anyway” and that they subsequently threw the minor card away “while moving onto the casino floor” with the woman where she proceeded to play blackjack for “a couple of hours” before proceeding to the slot machines “where you inserted money and encouraged her to play the machine.”
Here is where things really got sticky:
After being issued a summons by an agent of the Mississippi Gaming Commission for allowing a minor to gamble and being banned from re-entry into the casino, “it was alleged that you identified yourself more than once as the Executive Officer for LSP/Troop F to the Director of Security and to the Mississippi Gaming Commission agent while asking if there was the possibility of working something out,” Edmonson wrote (emphasis ours). “In addition to the statements you provided during the investigations, security cameras and other witnesses were able to confirm your inappropriate actions while at Ameristar,” he said.
Lewis subsequently “provided an incident report to your commander which was misleading and (which) failed to contain the relevant information needed in a report of that nature,” Edmonson wrote, adding that his false statements placed Lewis in violation of LSP policy which says, “No commissioned officer shall willfully and/or intentionally withhold any information from a report or statement, knowing such information to be relevant to the report or statement.” (Emphasis Edmonson’s).
Edmonson said investigators sustained each of five allegations against Lewis, including:
- (Failure) of conformance to laws;
- Making false statements to his commander,
- Use of intoxicants;
- (Use of his) Badge of Office (for the purpose of avoiding the consequences of illegal acts);
- Conduct unbecoming an officer.
“Investigators sustained all five allegations against you,” Edmonson said in his letter. Lewis was also ordered to appear before the Justice of the Peace in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he was fined $627 for the summons he received from the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
“You are hereby suspended without pay and allowances for 40 hours,” Edmonson wrote. “Your suspension will begin at 0800 (8 a.m.) on Monday, August 30, 2010, and end at 1630 hours (4:30 p.m.) on Friday, September 3, 2010. You will report back to your assigned duty station at 0800 hours on Tuesday, September 7, 2010.
Less than three years later, on July 11, Edmonson promoted Lewis to captain and installed him as commander of Troop F in Monroe in much the same manner that he promoted Lt. Harlan Chris Guillory to captain and made him commander of Troop D after it was learned that Guillory was abusing prescription drugs while on duty. https://www.facebook.com/LouisianaStatePolice/posts/676564355693491
Below are documents from LSP and the Mississippi Gaming Commission received by LouisianaVoice. Click on the documents to enlarge them for easier reading: