Assault allegations in Washington against town employee - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Assault allegations in Washington against town employee

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The Town of Washington is in the middle of a controversy surrounding a town employee and a resident, Verdia Lavergne.

Lavergne and other neighbors allege that after a verbal altercation between the two, a town employee picked up a shovel from his truck and attempted to strike her.

"He pulled out a shovel and came into my yard, and a group of ladies came to my defense, and when they came to my defense, he had picked up the shovel to hit me with it," Lavergne said.

A Washington officer was called to the scene. Upon arrival, he saw the incident taking place and arrested the town employee for aggravated assault. 

Lavergne told KATC she showed up to Mayor's Court, but when she arrived, she was told by the police chief and the arresting officer that the ticket had been dismissed and she didn't need to attend a court hearing.

KATC reached out to Mayor Joseph Pitre, who said he never stated the case was dismissed, rather it is still under investigation and would be turned over to the district attorney when his investigation was over.

In an investigative report, the arresting police, Ronald Olman, says the town's traffic clerk, "Erica Zachery," told him that Mayor Joseph Pitre "did his own investigation... and the charges against the town employee were dismissed."

Police Chief Latoya Trent told KATC she should have been able to handle the case and that mayor should have come to her with any questions he had.

Chief Trent also said her department did reach out to the St.Landry Sheriff's Office to see if they would take the case because they did not want it to be a conflict of interest. The departments responded, saying there was no conflict of interest, due to the fact it was not involving another law enforcement officer,  and they were not touching the case.

Lavergne said she is unhappy with the way the situation was handled and hopes there is justice served in the near future. 

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