Devall and Poe Investigations Compared
Poe Brothers Investigation
Jason and Brandon Poe are brothers who were both Louisiana State Troopers. They were on a hunting trip together on their land in Tensas Parish. They saw what they perceived to be a crime in progress (trespassing and illegal hunting).
They were in a secluded area knowing there was no way they could call for local law enforcement before the subjects left the area. They decided to investigate. They had problems with trespassers and poaching in the past with the two subjects who were suspected of trespassing and illegal hunting. One of the subjects ran away after one of the Poe brothers flagged down the vehicle while he was on foot.
The subjects ended up complaining to someone about the Poe brothers although they never actually filed a complaint form with LSP. LouisianaVoice obtained the documents which indicated Colonel Edmonson was making calls about the incident the following day. Sources indicate Edmonson’s early involvement is not normal.
The Poe brothers ended up being cleared of the allegations made but were still punished with a formal letter of reprimand. A letter of reprimand is a permanent disciplinary action. The reprimand was for violating two internal state police policies; failing to report being involved in an altercation and taking police action while off duty. The subjects in the investigation refused to cooperate with internal affairs. The investigation into the Poe brothers by internal affairs was at the behest of Edmonson. Sources indicate the two subjects were related to the sheriff.
LouisianaVoice received the following reports on the Poe brothers investigation from Louisiana State Police.
CAUTION: ALL THREE REPORTS CONTAIN STRONG LANGUAGE.
(CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE):
Captain Kevin Devall is a different story. Mr. Michael Gahagan filed a formal complaint against Devall after an incident at a hunting camp. LouisianaVoice covered this complaint in a previous story. Gahagan alleged he was stopped, assaulted, illegally detained, disarmed, transported against his wishes, and patted down by Devall. LouisianaVoice received the investigation file in this case as well.
Gahagan made allegations that information was leaked by internal affairs to the effect that they were going to cover for Devall. The investigation file indicated there would be a follow up in reference to the leak but none was documented in the files. The allegation of covering for Devall was confirmed by the investigation file itself after speaking to experienced investigators who reported this was a one sided investigation that failed to cover the elements of the alleged offenses. Devall was asked three questions in a polygraph. They were:
- Did you participate in the illegal touching of that man? Answer: No. The documents did not show he was asked if he touched the man. Legality is relative to each person involved.
- Did you illegally touch that man? Answer: No. Again, legality is relative to each person involved. You do not go to a bank robber and ask him if he illegally robbed the bank. You ask if he robbed the bank, if he had a gun, if he pointed the gun, what he said, etc.
- Did you force that man to ride with you on your ATV? Answer: No. They did not ask if he actually rode with him. Being forced is also relative to the person.
The documentation did not show Devall was asked about pertinent aspects of the allegations such as:
- Did you touch Mr. Gahagan? If so, explain.
- Did you identify yourself as a law enforcement officer?
- Did you disarm Mr. Gahagan? If so, explain.
- Did you transport Mr. Gahagan anywhere? If so, explain.
These are very important factors in determining an illegal detention. Even with the lack of evidence supporting a thorough investigation, Devall admitted to disturbing conduct. Devall admitted he blocked the only exit with his truck to prevent Gahagan from being able to leave. Devall reported Gahagan parked his truck near his stand and, “inconvenienced me where I couldn’t hunt.” While it may be annoying, it is not a crime. When Gahagan confronted Devall about moving his truck so he could leave, Devall admitted calling him a stupid m—-f—-r “at least 20 times,” according to the Internal Affairs investigative report. Gahagan reported Devall identified himself as a State Trooper. This combined with his truck being blocked in and being called a m—–f—-r at least 20 times would lead a reasonable person to believe they were not free to leave which is the legal standard for establishing a detention. If there was no crime suspected by Devall, this detention was illegal.
Even though this investigation was one sided, it was established blocking Gahagan with his truck and calling him a stupid m—–f—-r at least 20 times was not deserving of any permanent record. Devall was given a letter of counseling which is not a permanent record.
A letter of reprimand can be taken into account with considering promotions; a letter of counseling may not. In fact, a letter of counseling may not be appealed because it is not a permanent record and it may be removed from the personnel file.
Devall is the son of long time Hammond Police Chief Roddy Devall.
Here are excerpts from the Kevin Duvall investigation:
The Poe brothers took legal action when they suspected a crime was being committed and were permanently punished. Devall took apparent illegal, unprofessional, and discourteous action in response to being inconvenienced and was not permanently punished. This is an obvious disparity. The common denominator is the relationship to politically connected individuals. No wonder Edmonson is able to get the endorsement of Police Chiefs and the Sheriffs Association.