Does Steve Troxler Respect Law Enforcement?
RALEIGH – Statement from Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director of Progress North Carolina, regarding the Agriculture Commissioner’s behavior during the recent investigation of a Butterball turkey farm in Hoke County.
“It is absolutely inappropriate for any public official to tamper with a law enforcement investigation, much less, tip off an offender about a upcoming raid. Commissioner Troxler has some serious questions to answer about his agency’s attitude towards the rule of law.
Questions Commissioner Troxler must answer:
1) Did Commissioner Troxler instruct Dr. Sarah Mason to tip-off Butterball or did he have any prior knowledge of her actions?
2) Was any disciplinary action taken against Dr. Mason or any other Department of Agriculture employee that was involved in the tip-off?
3) Is the Dep. of Agriculture too friendly to big business at the expense of the rule of law?
4) Does Commissioner Troxler believe in the rule of law?
Unfortunately, this situation appears to be more than just an isolated incident for the Dep. of Agriculture. Two weeks ago reports of a state audit indicated the Department failed to fine repeat violators of safety standards for propane tanks. The Dep. of Agriculture found 7,466 violations, yet imposed only $4,000 in fines when it could have imposed fines of up to $2.5 million!
Public officials are required to carry out the laws of our state. Serious questions abound about Commissioner Troxler’s commitment to law enforcement.”
According to reports yesterday from WTVD and WRAL, Hoke County sheriffs raided a Butterball turkey farm on Dec. 29 after they were provided under-cover video of animal abuse. Butterball officials were tipped off about the investigation by the Dep. of Agriculture six days before the raid. The tip-off came only hours after Hoke County authorities contacted the Dep. of Agriculture in preparation for the raid.