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Investigator Says Machine Guns Alarmed Him

SHREVEPORT, La. (CN) - The former chief investigator for the Caddo Parish district attorney claims in court that he was fired for telling the sheriff that the district attorney's office was stockpiling machine guns.

Don Ashley sued Caddo Parish District Attorney Charles Rex Scott, in Caddo Parish Court. Louisiana parishes are the equivalent of other states' counties.

The complaint states: "During 2009, 2010 and 2011, Ashley became aware of certain activities engaged in by the D.A.'s office and some of its assistants that went beyond what he believed to be the prosecutorial mission of the district attorney. These activities included the acquisition of weapons, the active participation by certain assistant district attorneys in traditional police activities and the participation by those certain district attorneys in other unorthodox prosecutorial activities. Ashley was uncomfortable with such activities and voiced his concerns to Scott, his staff and directly to the assistant district attorneys involved.

"In February 2012, Ashley became aware that the D.A.'s office had purchased eight M-16 fully automatic weapons or machine guns and that the delivery of the machine guns to the D.A.'s office was imminent.

"Based on his investigation into the D.A.'s office purchase of the machine guns, Ashley became aware that they had been purchased without the knowledge and approval of Sheriff Steve Prator, as required by Louisiana law. He also believed that under the circumstances (lack of training in the use of such weapons, lack of security for the handling and storing of such weapons and his concerns about the activities of certain assistant district attorneys as described above) purchase of the machine guns would lead to dangerous consequences. Ashley voiced his concerns about the illegality and potentially dangerous consequences of the machine gun purchases to a number of D.A. staff members and supervising attorneys. He tried to meet with Scott to voice his concerns directly to him, but was unable to immediately secure a meeting.

"Ashley's voiced concerns were met with vague, conflicting and apparently untrue responses about the machine gun purchases from the D.A. staff members and supervising attorneys to whom he spoke.

"Troubled by this apparent lack of candor, Ashley spoke directly with Prator about the machine guns and confirmed that Prator had no knowledge of the machine guns having been purchased, nor did he approve of the D.A.'s office acquiring the machine guns. Prator further confirmed to Ashley that the acquisition of the machine guns under the circumstances constituted a violation of state law." (Parentheses in complaint.)

Three days after he spilled the beans to the sheriff, Ashley says, Scott fired him.

"Scott stated that Ashley's employment was being terminated because 'he had gone outside the office' by disclosing the machine gun purchases to Prator," according to the complaint.

Ashley seeks reinstatement, back pay, lost benefits and damages for whistleblower violations and wrongful termination including.

He is represented by James McMichael Jr., of McMichael, Medlin, D'Anna, Wedgeworth & LaFargue, of Shreveport.

Follow @SabrinaCanfiel2
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