Sign Outside of Stevi Cafe Targets Local Police Officer
People in Stevensville noticed an odd message on the sign outside of the Stevi Café this morning, February 27: an electronic sign was flashing the phrase “Officer Jessop has a DUI” in bright red letters. A video of the sign was even posted on the Stevi Café’s Facebook page, but when KGVO news called the café and asked for a manager. A man named Rod said he didn’t know anything about the situation.
"It was on the sign, but I have no idea if it is true or not... I'm not even sure how it got put on there. It is shut off now... and I don't know anything about it," Rod said.
The sign was reportedly shut off before noon. Rod says the café’s router was hacked last Friday and inferred that that event may have something to do with the message. Stevensville Police Chief James Marble doesn’t believe the sign is an accident, but also says it is factually true and won’t be considered criminal defamation.
"We were informed that the sign was up, and it is true that Officer Jessop does have a DUI on her record," Marble said. "It was dealt with appropriately by the city and it did occur while she was an employee, but it did not occur while she was on duty. It was investigated by the Montana Highway Patrol through the Attorney' General's office. So, that all took place and she dealt with it just like any other citizen would."
Officer Jessop’s DUI was a misdemeanor charge. Police Chief Marble says he knows that an individual associated with the Stevi Café has “issues” with the police department but did not wish to comment any further.
Facebook posts by a Gregory Lanoue who claims to be the "Marketing Director at Stevi Cafe" may indicate the real reason behind the sign. One post defending the sign by Lanoue claims "She gave me a dui for .089 bac and she has a dui less than a year old."
UPDATE: after the original story ran, KGVO received a call from a man claiming to be Gregory Lanoue, the son of the owner of the Stevi Cafe. Lanoue admitted he is the one responsible for the sign and says he changed the sign "behind my mom's back." Lanoue says he is the owner of the Stevi Stop and Go and believes he is being "harassed" by the police department. He says the sign was intended as a "shot over the bow" after he was incarcerated on Sunday for disorderly conduct. Lanoue says he was arrested for his third DUI by officer Jessop for a .089 BAC and that he "intentionally changed the sign to point out hypocrisy."