KATC Investigates

Aug 1, 2013 11:30 PM by Erin Steuber/ Tina Macias

New Details in the Troubling Past of an Acadiana Police Officer

The Breaux Bridge police officer involved in a December 2012 fatal shooting was finally identified Wednesday when a grand jury decided not to charge him with a crime.

Although Officer Travis Guillot, 40, was cleared of any wrongdoing in the death of 16-year-old Daraneisha Harris, it was was not the first time Guillot has found himself in hot water. He has spent a decade moving around to different law enforcement agencies. He has worked at:
• Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office, 2002-2004
• Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office, 2004-2005
• St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office, 2005-2006
• Breaux Bridge Police Department, June 2011-January 2012; July 2012-
• Washington Police Department, January 2012-July 2012

The only agency we found he had a clean record was Iberia Parish. At other agencies, he has been accused of fondling inmates, excessive force and improper treatment of an inmate who later died.

Breaux Breaux assistant chief Terry Latiolais says the police department has no comment the shooting or whether Guillot is back on the job. He refused to be interviewed on camera. Guillot has been on paid leave from Breaux Bridge PD since December 5, 2012, according to the city of Breaux Bridge.

Last year, Guillot gained notoriety at the Washington Police Department when he shot and killed a dog while on patrol. That incident was addressed in a town of Washington meeting, where tempers flared when he promised he will defend himself "just like he did that day with that dog." A resident commented that he would kill somebody one day. He responded, "don't break the law and you won't have a problem." (audio recording)

Guillot now has four lawsuits in four different incidents pending against him in St. Landry Parish court. During his seven-month stint in Washington, Guillot is accused of yelling "racial epithets" at suspects and excessive force by grabbing suspects by the neck and body slamming them "onto the floor head first." Guillot resigned from Washington PD in July 2012 and returned to Breaux Bridge PD, where he first worked in June 2011, the same month.

Washington residents used Guillot's past as fuel for their complaints. He was fired from the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office in 2006 after he apparently stole a rifle from a residence while checking an alarm activation.

According to SLPSO internal affairs documents, after the rifle owner returned home, he noticed the alarm went off and checked his surveillance video, where "Guillot was identified in the video walking out the carport door of the residence with the rifle ... placing the rifle in the trunk of his patrol unit." Guillot first denied taking the rifle and then claimed "he had taken it from a black male subject who was walking in front of the house."

The rifle was later found at Guillot's home "in a bush behind the house near the steps." He was arrested on charges of theft of a firearm and malfeasance in office. After he went through a district attorney diversion program, the charges were dropped and his record expunged.

Before working for SLPSO, Guillot spent time at the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office, where he was hired on Dec. 2, 2004. During the course of his employment, he was accused of three infractions. The first two centered around an inmate who died of cocaine intoxication after he was found unconscious in his cell less than two hours after being booked.

A federal lawsuit that was settled out of court says Guillot found cocaine in an inmate's rectum during a cavity search, and should have sought medical attention for him. The inmate was uncooperative and placed in special watch and Guillot was reprimanded for not documenting whether he checked on the inmate every 30 minutes, in accordance with policy.

In an Internal Affairs invesgitation, Guillot called the inmate combative and admitted to administering pepper spray in the jail cell. An IA officer questioned whether the spray was really necessary, but Guillot was cleared of excessive use of force.

Three months later, an inmate's boyfriend told the sheriff's office that his girlfriend had been fondled by Guillot. Two female inmates came forward after that, according to IA documents. One inmate said he took her to an area without cameras and "he just grabbed me and ... and touched me down there, just touched me, and I tried to push him away, and he kissed me." She says "he said something about taking stuff off my record." Another claimed he "grabbed my breasts and threw me against the wall."

A week after Guillot was notified of the accusations, he resigned before an investigation could be completed.

Before becoming an officer, Guillot was arrest for grand larceny (theft of personal property over $500) in 1996, but the victim dropped the charges. He was also arrested for assault in Washington state in 1993 and simple battery of a juvenile in St. Landry Parish in 1999, but it was unclear whether he was prosecuted in either arrest.

Laura Balthazar, the interim sheriff in St. Landry Parish when Guillot worked for the agency, declined comment, as did Ronelle Broussard, Washington Police Chief.

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