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UPDATE: Sheriff's statement added

UPDATE: Sheriff issues expanded statement; Clay Higgins leaves the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office

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Capt. Clay Higgins Capt. Clay Higgins
Clay Higgins Clay Higgins

Clay Higgins, the charismatic Sheriff's captain who put St. Landry Parish Crime Stoppers on the international map with his viral videos, has resigned from the Sheriff's Office. 

Higgins made the announcement Monday morning on the steps of the St. Landry Parish Courthouse.  He says he was not forced to resign, but he felt he need to turn in his badge, which the Sheriff accepted.  

"I will not kneel to violent street gangs. I will not kneel to murderers or the parents that raised them. I will not kneel to a discredited, wanna-be, black activist that doesn't really have the best interest of his people in mind, who just wants to make a profit," says Higgins. "I will not kneel to bureaucrats in Baton Rouge, Washington or anywhere else who have forgotten why they wear a badge and who have forgotten who they serve."

Higgins said he loves Sheriff Bobby Guidroz.  He admires him and respects him, but he can't abide by his current orders. 
 "I would die rather than sacrifice my principles," Higgins says. "I would leave my wife without a husband, my children without a daddy, rather than kneel to the very forces of evil that I have so long stood against."

His announcement comes on the heels of some controversy surrounding the most recent video Higgins made about fugitives - which was not on behalf of Crime Stoppers. Higgins says per a request by State Police, he put together a video about seven suspects who have been on the run since last fall, accused members of the Gremlins Gang and under indictment on conspiracy charges. 

Along with Higgins, appearing in the video were members of various law enforcement agencies in the area and leaders in the black community of St. Landry Parish. 

However, the ACLU took issue with an advance copy of Higgins' script for the segment, and several people identifying themselves as family members of the accused gang members said they felt their relatives were in danger because of the segment. 

Higgins' Crime Stopper segments are told in his signature monotone, and he often comments upon the accused perpetrators, using strong and uncomplimentary language. He usually ends his segments by speaking directly to the fugitive or suspect, often promising them redemption if they will only turn themselves in. He often refers to religion in his segments, as the source of the promised redemption. He has reported many arrests as a result of the segments, and has reported the resolution of many crimes.

Higgins' strong rhetoric has made him and his videos extremely popular online, each spawning thousands of comments and many thousands of shares. He has started his own business, selling merchandise featuring his more popular phrases, such as "Listen to your Uncle Clay" or "I'm talking to you now, son" to help fund a homeless shelter he is building in St. Landry Parish.  Higgins also has been invited to speak at various events and before various organizations, and even was made Grand Marshal of Mardi Gras parades. 

Sheriff Bobby Guidroz was quoted in the Daily World after the Gremlins video aired, saying Crime Stoppers had gotten away from its original message, and he didn't like calling out suspects and criticizing people.  Guidroz promised to "reign" the segment back in to where he felt it needed to be.  

Today was Higgins' first public appearance since Guidroz made those comments. 

As for Higgins' future, he says he has options and will remain a constable. 

Sheriff Guidroz issued the following statement on Higgins' resignation:

"St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz stated in a press release Monday that Captain Clay Higgins has resigned his position with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff Department because according to Higgins, ‘He disagreed with my orders.’  

 Sheriff Guidroz said, “ My orders to Higgins was to, ‘tone down’ his unprofessional comments on our weekly Crime Stoppers messages and had nothing to do with the Gremlins video that appeared on the networks.  I agree with the Gremlins video.  First of all; I repeatedly told him to stop saying things like, ‘you have no brain cells, or making comments that were totally disrespectful and demeaning. Second; Clay Higgins appeared on the cover of a local magazine in full dress uniform without my approval and permission.  That too is something he didn’t like me controlling.” 

 As Sheriff, it is my duty and responsibility that the message going out to the public be professional, on point and truthful.  The public needs to remember the department public information officer is a spokesperson for the sheriff and represents the sheriff’s words, thoughts and message.  If Clay Higgins cannot agree with my words, thoughts and message, then he is correct in resigning his position."

Later Monday, the Sheriff issued a longer statement. Below is the complete text: 

"St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz stated in a press release today that Captain Clay Higgins has resigned his position with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff Department because according to Higgins, ‘He disagreed with my orders.’  

Sheriff Guidroz said, “My orders to Higgins were to ‘Tone down his unprofessional comments on our weekly Crime Stoppers messages,’ and had nothing to do with the Gremlins video or with ‘Bowing down to political correctness.’ I happen to agree with the overall message of the Gremlins video.  

Secondly, I repeatedly told him to stop saying divisive, disrespectful, or demeaning things like, ‘You have no brain cells,’ ‘Knuckleheads’, or ‘Liars.’

Thirdly, Clay Higgins appeared on the cover of a local magazine in full dress uniform, a direct violation of department policy, without my approval or authorization.  

Furthermore, Higgins formed a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) to raise money by selling mugs, t-shirts and other trinkets using the department badge and uniform.  Additionally, Higgins utilized the department’s physical address in registering his LLC with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.  All of which are against department policy.”

“As your Sheriff, it is my duty and responsibility that the message to the citizens of St. Landry Parish be professional, on point, and truthful.  The department Public Information Officer (PIO) is a representative of the Sheriff, the deputies and the department as a whole. If Higgins cannot operate within the parameters of this office and abide by our policies and procedures, then he is correct in resigning his position. 

As your sheriff, I can assure you that my staff and I will continue to provide the citizens of St. Landry Parish with the most professional law enforcement services and protection,” Guidroz said."

Here is the complete text of Higgins' statement:

"I've asked you all here today, with a heavy heart, to advise of my resignation from the St. Landry Parish Sheriffs Office.
I've met with the Sheriff, he has accepted my resignation. I was not forced to resign, the Sheriff did not ask for my resignation. Rather, I've turned in my badge as a matter of conscience. 
If I may, for just a moment, I'd like to explain.
I begin each day, from bended knee.. But I kneel to our Savior.
I will not kneel, to violent street gangs... I will not kneel, to murderers... or the parents that raised them... I will not kneel, to a discredited wanna-be black activist, that doesn't really have the best interest of his people in mind, he just wants to make a profit... and I will not kneel, to bureaucrats or politicians, in Washington or Baton Rouge, who have forgotten why they wear a badge, and who they serve. 
Ladies and gentlemen, I would die, rather than sacrifice my principles. I would give my life, leave my wife a widow, and my children without a Daddy... Rather than kneel to the very forces of evil that I so long stood against. 
So, if I would sacrifice my life for my principles, surely you must understand, that I must sacrifice my job. 
It saddens me, that I feel compelled to do so, because I love my Sheriff, I admire my Sheriff... I respect him, he's a good man, with a good heart... Although I'd take a bullet for my Sheriff, although I'd stand with him against any peril... I cannot abide by his current orders. I'm sorry, but I just can't.
Paul told us in Corinthians, to place not your faith in the wisdom of man... but in the spirit and power of God. 
I haven't always been the man that stands before you today. I've spent the last 15 years of my life, struggling to become a better man. 
I will not go back. I will not retreat. I will not step away from the path the Lord has prepared for me. I will not succumb to the powers of darkness that I've encouraged the world to stand up against. I will be the man, that our Lord intends for me to be... 
... No matter the cost. 
I'd like to speak for a moment, about the badge that I turned in today. All of us, that wear badges, begin our jobs with an oath. A sacred oath, sworn by generations of courageous Americans before us. But that oath, that allegiance, is not to a Sheriff, it's not to a Chief... It's to the constitutional principles that our badge represents. It's to the people, that we've sworn to serve and protect. It's to an American nation, that hungers for truth, and justice... strength, and compassion. It's to a world torn asunder by forces that men like me have sworn by our own life's blood to defeat... as we stand as one, against the very gates of Hell.
If I were to continue to wear the badge I resign from today, and to work within the parameters that I've been commanded... I would tarnish that badge. I would violate the principles that it represents... and I just can't do that.
Many of you know, the way I grew up... we raised and trained horses. There's a saying, amongst equestrians, and Cowboys... Some horses just don't run well with bit in their mouth... I'm one of those horses. I don't do well... Reigned in. Which is exactly what my a Sheriff said he intended to do. 
So, although I love and respect my Sheriff... I must resign. Because as a soldier, if I cannot conscientiously carry out my assigned orders... Then I must resign my post. 
It has been my great honor, to serve with the men and women of the St. Landry Parish Sheriffs Office. It has been my great privilege, to serve, the citizens of St. Landry Parish... The home, that has adopted me, as I've adopted it. 
My future is bright, because the path I'm on, is illuminated by Gods light... and by his grace, I'll move forward. 
My endeavor, with Captain Higgins Gear, the non-profit I've established to build a homeless shelter in our parish, will move forward. 
I will continue to be a cop, I've got many options... And I will prayerfully reflect upon the choices I'll make over these next few weeks. 
In closing, I make this promise, to the citizens of St. Landry Parish... The badge I turned in today, doesn't belong to my Sheriff... It belongs to you... The people, my fellow children of God of every creed and color... And it's to you, the people, that I promise this day...
... If it be Gods will... I will wear your badge again... 
... And it will shine.
 
Thank you, for attending, thank you for your kindness. At this time, I'll do my best to respectfully answer any questions." 

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