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Trayford Pellerin family: Video shows a mentally ill person

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Posted at 5:14 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 22:53:00-04

LAFAYETTE, La. — The family of Trayford Pellerin says the videos used to justify his killing show a sick person.

Attorney Ron Haley, who represents the family, said the videos showed by the Lafayette Parish District Attorney Tuesday during an hour-long press conference depict "a person having a mental health issue."

He acknowledged that Pellerin did not drop to the ground when he was told to do so.

"However, failure to comply is a misdemeanor, not a death penalty," he added. "And we've seen in this country that even when people do comply with police they still end up dead."

He also said that carrying a knife is not against the law. The first officer on the scene pulled out a taser, not a gun, when he encountered Pellerin. If Pellerin really was so dangerous, why did that officer pull out his taser, Haley asked.

Haley said he felt the DA's office gave great deference to a Louisiana State Police investigation, and he also wants to know which charges the grand jury considered.

READ MORE: No indictments in Pellerin case

Haley said he has heard that only second-degree murder was presented as a possible charge to the grand jury.

State Police is an "unreliable source" in terms of an excessive force case, he said.

Haley said the family's suit is currently on hold, but that will end soon and the suit will proceed. He said he's also going to ask the new US Attorney to take a look at this case.

"It seems like due process is cut off at the knees when it comes to black people," Haley said.

Pellerin's mother Michelle says she's not sure how to feel today. She did wonder why none of these videos couldn't be shown to her once over the past nine months. She said the video she was shown "had nothing to do" with what happened to her son.

She did say she wanted to thank everyone who has supported her and her family over the past nine months.

"This just motivates me more to get justice for this family - because they're not going to get it here," Haley said. "When is being in retreat justification to kill someone. He was shot in the back."

Haley said the 911 calls did not match up with what was shown in the store. He was just standing there and he looked "bothered and confused."

Michelle Pellerin said when he shouted a woman's name, that was his sister, who worked at that store.

"He would go check on her," she said.

The evidence presented by the DA Tuesday was not available to the officers involved, Haley said.

"All they saw was a man who would not comply," Haley said.

Lafayette activist Jamal Taylor said he found the DA's presentation "reprehensible." He said the officers' faces were blurred but Pellerin's was not.

He said it's time for officials to stop referring to white people as having mental health issues, and black people as being drug addicts, when they suffer from the same illness.

"The US Department of Justice needs to do the job that seems to elude Lady Justice," Taylor said.