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Wednesday, February 12, 2020



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Golden Meadow police chief resigns

Golden Meadow police chief resigns

Golden Meadow’s Police Department will soon have new leadership after its chief stepped down last week.

Mayor Joey Bouziga confirmed Reggie Pitre resigned from the position in early January and his last official day on the job was last Wednesday.

Pitre served as chief since his election in 2012 and has worked for the department since 2009.

The Town Council has 20 days to appoint an interim police chief who will finish Pitre’s term which expires at the end of the year, Bouziga said.

Pitre could not be reached for comment.

Although Bouziga declined to comment about Pitre’s resignation, he said he wished the former chief well.

“His performance was good,” the mayor said. “I wish him luck.”

Chett Chiasson, executive director of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission, confirmed on Friday that Pitre accepted a position with the Harbor Police.

“We made a point at the Port Commission to hire four new people,” Chaisson said. “One of them was Reggie. He expressed interest in coming to work for the Port Commission and we had an opening. He had actually interviewed for the chief’s position many months back. Although he didn’t get it he was still interested in coming to work for the Port Commission. So when this opportunity came up again he expressed interest. He talked to the chief and the chief was interested in having him work for us. So he stepped down as chief of Golden Meadow and came to work for us.”

Pitre began working for the Harbor Police last Thursday, Chaisson said.

The former chief was the subject of a federal lawsuit in 2018 alleging excessive force.

According to court papers, Larose resident Jason Cortez filed a lawsuit on Sept. 26, 2018, in U.S. District Court accusing Pitre of punching him and throwing his wife to the ground by the neck during an incident the year before.

Around midnight on Sept. 29, 2017, Cortez and his wife were drinking at TK’s Sports Bar in Golden Meadow, authorities said. When Cortez began “acting drunk,” Pitre, who was also at the bar and was dressed in civilian clothing, escorted him out.

After Pitre escorted Cortez out of the bar, the police chief punched the plaintiff directly in the face, the lawsuit alleges. Cortez’s wife then intervened to “protect her husband from Chief Pitre’s assault.”

Pitre claimed Cortez “fell backwards over a monitor, when he fell he struck the chain-linked microphone stand, causing it to strike the lead singer of the band in the head. ... During the night I observed Jason’s level of impairment to be one where he couldn’t stand on his own and his balance was poor.”

Court records show the lawsuit was settled on Oct. 15 for an undisclosed amount.

There have been seven police chiefs in Golden Meadow, three of whom served more than 10 years, according to the town’s website. The police department employs four full-time officers, three part-time officers and two reserve officers.

 

-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at dan.copp@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter@DanVCopp.