SHREVEPORT, La. – An investigator for the Caddo Parish, La., District Attorney’s Office who claimed he was fired in retaliation for reporting the D.A. office’s unorthodox purchase of several automatic weapons has settled a wrongful termination lawsuit for $447,000.
According to the Shreveport Times, former Caddo District Attorney chief investigator Don Ashley said he grew concerned as District Attorney Charles Scott and assistant prosecutors began engaging in unusual “police-like behavior, including outfitting their vehicles with lights and sirens, making traffic stops, and wearing SWAT-type clothing during work hours.”
This militant activity, which Mr. Ashley said began in 2009, eventually led to the D.A. office’s purchase of eight fully automatic M-16 machine guns in February 2012.
In his lawsuit, Mr. Ashley said he first expressed his concerns to Mr. Scott but then turned to Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator when those concerns went unanswered. Sheriff Prator “was truly taken aback” by the purchase, which he said was illegal, Mr. Ashley told KTBS in a 2012 interview. The Sheriff’s office never received notice about the gun purchase, as the law requires.
“There’s absolutely no reason for a district attorney’s office to have that kind of weaponry,” Mr. Ashley told KTBS.
After Mr. Ashley went to the Sheriff, the D.A.’s office fired him for having “gone outside the office” with information about the gun purchase.
An investigation into the matter found that paperwork submitted to obtain the weapons by Mr. Scott’s office contained false information. KTBS reports, “According to documents used to order the weapons, the district attorney stated the special investigation section needed them because members handle predominantly high profile and dangerous drug offenders.”
Mr. Scott claims neither he nor his office did anything wrong, but chose to “resolve the case in order to avoid the uncertainties and expense of further litigation.”
The settlement comes one month after Mr. Scott was re-elected to second term with no qualified challengers, KTBS reported.