NACHITOCHES, La. -- A Louisiana State Police Commissioner, who resigned under pressure last summer, filed a lawsuit against a state trooper and the state police union alleging they accused him of public intimidation in retaliation for alleged wrongdoing he was exposing.
Former Commissioner Calvin Braxton, a Nachitoches business man, filed a lawsuit against LSP Captain Jay Oliphant and the Louisiana State Troopers Association in a state court in Nachitoches last week.
Braxton accuses them of orchestrating a false incident report against him in June 2016 to get him removed from the commission.
Braxton ultimately resigned his position on the commission last July, saying the publicity over it all was affecting his reputation and his family.
In December 2015, Braxton’s daughter Brandy Braxton was arrested by a state trooper on suspicion of DWI. Six months later, Oliphant, the arresting trooper’s supervisor, authored an incident report accusing Calvin of committing public intimidation after the arrest, alleging he asked Oliphant and even former LSP Commander Mike Edmonson to punish the trooper who pulled over his daughter.
“Well, guess what? He's the police. If my client had threatened or intimidated him or any police officer for that matter in December of 2015, don’t you think he would've been arrested then?” asked Jill Craft, Braxton’s attorney.
The report is dated June 2, 2016 and a month later, it was attached to a letter from LSTA attorney Floyd Falcon sent to Governor Edwards calling for Braxton’s ouster.
A year later, Falcon and the LSTA sent the letter and the report a second time to Edwards.
The lawsuit claims the report and its timed release were orchestrated in retaliation for Braxton’s actions on the commission, in particular for raising questions about alleged wrongdoing by troopers and the LSTA.
Braxton called for an investigation into $17,500 in campaign contributions the LSTA had funneled through its executive director to political candidates and Louisiana Democrats, including Governor John Bel Edwards.
Sources said a federal grand jury has subpoenaed records related to the contributions and the Louisiana Board of Ethics launched an investigation of its own.
The LSTA and executive director David Young entered into a consent order with the ethics board in Nov. 2016, admitting they made illegal contributions. That order included a $5,000 fine.
But months before that ethics investigation, Braxton’s lawsuit claims he was threatened by then-special counsel to the commission, who is unnamed in court documents.
“He was contacted and he was basically told that he needed to let it be, don't raise any more issues to the misconduct that he was talking about and if he did not, they were going to embarrass him, embarrass his family, humiliate him and ruin him, which is what they tried,” Craft said.
Braxton alleges the threat was made in January 2016, the incident report crafted five months later and sent to the governor in July, then sent to Edwards again in June 2017, just before the commission meeting where a report on the campaign contributions was scheduled for release. Braxton ultimately stepped down a month later.
LSTA attorney Floyd Falcon said he had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit and couldn’t comment on the case.