When Caddo District Attorney Charles Scott announced that he would “not discuss personnel matters” Tuesday, July 31 the immediate public reaction was that there were many issues still in doubt with the issue previously dubbed the “Zombie Response Team Machine Gun Case.” First consider the fact that former Assistant District Attorney Lea Hall was one of the leaders of the alleged “ZRT” (Zombie Response Team) as was Hugo Holland. Then note the application (COMPLETE APPLICATION) with cover letter signed by Lea R. Hall, Jr and signed throughout by Caddo District Attorney Charles R. Scott, who also initialed prominently all required boxes indicating comprehension and approval of the contents of the application.
The fact that the Louisiana Inspector General found no grounds for prosecution and it is admitted that lies were told in the application does not exonerate the District Attorney’s office in anyone’s mind. That District Attorney Charles Scott would place the blame squarely on the backs of his assistants rather than fall on his own sword is as Lea Hall stated, “purely political.”
Throughout the process of the disclosure of the existence of the supposed “Vertical Prosecution Task Force” and the paramilitary exercises of the ZRT focused on what evidence could be produced to show names and relationships with public monies used to promote activities too sensitive to be discussed in public. Government programs that require training, weaponry and secrecy of the ZRT and similar organizations that travel around the country with foreign national paramilitary groups should be explained to the public.
Caddo parish citizens, and by our records citizens of most other local entities, at risk to outside forces or internal insurrection, should be better informed about these issues. Elected officials must disclose the money spent on “high-risk operations that require DA personnel to be properly armed.” “Rambo” photos of local district attorney officers, sheriff’s training groups and foreign nationals training at locations near and far seem to be more that national guard weekend maneuvers.
If treats from well-trained groups with automatic weapons are part of local criminal activity the public needs to be informed. And automatic weapons “lost” due to failure to properly secure law enforcement weapons needs to be broadcast and agencies must be held accountable. However, there haven’t been any machine-gun toting felons mowing down innocent citizens locally when warrants are being served, and local law enforcement seems to provide plenty of training for their own personnel in handling these potential situations.
Let’s put the Zombies away and get back in focus the criminals who are holding up liquor stores, stealing tax-payer monies through various illegal operations and otherwise breaking established laws. The Sheriff can take care of the gun-toting heavy weapons and call in fire power if investigators feel threatened while carrying out their duties.
And, thank you Investigator Don Ashley for having the guts to speak out concerning the improper (illegal) procurement of weapons by the District Attorney. Truth is often it’s own reward. It’s lonely when you think you are standing alone, but many of us out there, north and south Louisiana, know you did the right thing.