By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas state trooper who says he was reprimanded after posing for a photograph with rapper Snoop Dogg filed a civil suit on Wednesday over the punishment he felt was unjust.
The Department of Public Safety (DPS) told Trooper Billy Spears, who was off duty but working in uniform as security at a music festival, that he posed "with a public figure who has a well-known criminal background including numerous drug charges" and it reflected poorly on the agency, according to the suit.
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Spears filed the suit against the leader of the DPS and others for subjecting him to administrative counseling after the photo with the music star, who was in Austin for the South by Southwest music festival, was posted on social media about a month ago.
"The DPS does not discuss pending legislation," the department said in a statement.
Snoop Dogg posted the picture with a caption that read "Me n my deputy dogg."
After the photo went out, DPS dispatched an agent to Spears to serve him with a copy of his counseling record, which the lawsuit said was meant to show the department's anger.
The suit contends that Spears' superiors "could not identify any policy, rule, order, or law that he violated, so they just fabricated something."
Spears' lawyer, Ty Clevenger, said a major point of the suit was to remove the punishment from Spears' record. The suit contends Spears fell afoul of the department after filing a complaint against a superior over an incident that took place in 2014.
"Once you are on the blacklist, they pretty much don't take you off," he said. He did not specify any monetary damages he was seeking.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz)