A temporary restraining order granted on Tuesday will prohibit the release of information related to the shooting death of Trayford Pellerin and the identities of the officers involved.
The restraining order was filed by the Counsel for the individual officers involved in the incident. The family's attorney Ronald Haley said in statement on Tuesday that the Police Association had filed the order. The Police Association says they were not involved. A full statement from the association is at the end of this article.
According to the order granted by the 15th Judicial District Court, Louisiana State Police, the Lafayette Police Department and Lafayette Consolidated Government are prohibited from providing the identities of the three officers or statements, documents, reports, or audio/video footage taken during the August 21 incident.
Those prohibited from receiving information include any person, media company/outlet, news organization and/or other entity not associated with the investigation.
The order also calls on the three departments to show cause on September 15 as to why an Order of Protection should not be granted prohibiting the release of the identities and information.
The attorney for Pellerin's family and local activist groups have called on the investigating agencies to release information and body cam footage of the incident.
The Lafayette Parish NAACP held a press conference on Friday, September 4 where they asked for transparency and cooperation from law enforcement and officials involved in the investigation.
Read more here.
In a statement released Tuesday, attorneys for Pellerin's family said they were disappointed but not surprised about the filing of the restraining order, "to prohibit Mr. Pellerin's family from understanding what happened."
Pellerin's family and their attorneys met with Mayor President Josh Guillory last week to discuss the shooting and investigation.
Attorneys say that during that meeting, the Mayor-President agreed that Pellerin's family deserved to immediately view all footage of the shooting and that Guillory had expressed frustration in the lack of transparency.
On Wednesday, Guillory's Administration issued a statement after learning of the filing that would prohibit the family from viewing any footage of the shooting.
In that statement, they say that the Mayor-President is committed to honoring the promise he made during the family's meeting to allow for a private viewing of bodycam footage.
"Mayor-President Guillory is committed to honoring the promise he made to the Pellerin family and has directed City-Parish attorneys to advocate for the accommodation of a private viewing for the family of the footage at a hearing scheduled on September 15, 2020," the statement reads.
See the full statement at the end of the article.
The family's attorneys say that the restraining order is "shameful" and that those who filed "clearly don't want the family to see the brazen, violent killing of Mr. Pellerin because it will implicate the department, demonstrate a lack of proper training on or utilization of de-escalation tactics and restraint, and reveal that the only dangerous parties present that evening were the police officers themselves."
The attorneys add that they believe the video of the incident will confirm the results of the family's independent autopsy. That autopsy found that Pellerin suffered 10 gunshots directly into his body with an additional two to three more wounds as a result of “projectile fire” from officers with the Lafayette Police Department.
"Allowing the family to watch the footage of Mr. Pellerin's homicide will in no way interfere with any investigation by Louisiana State Police or any other investigative agency," they say.
Despite the retraining order, the attorneys say they will continue to demand accountability and transparency.
Read the full response from family attorneys below:
A response from the Lafayette Police Association can be viewed below
We have recently been made aware of a letter sent out by Haley and Associates indicating The Police Association of Lafayette Local #905 filed a restraining order in the investigation into Mr. Pellerin’s death. This information is inaccurate. While a restraining order has been filed it was filed by the attorneys personally representing officers involved in this incident. The Police Association of Lafayette is in no way a party to this litigation. As with any criminal investigation the officers involved are afforded rights under our constitution and they have retained competent attorneys to represent them. When the facts of the case are presented in its entirety we are confident a much better understanding will come of the split second decision those officers were faced with on this tragic night. As we support our fellow officers, we also grieve for our community and with the Pellerin family. We pray for comfort in this tragic time. Any further questions involving this should be directed to the attorneys representing the individual officers involved or the investigating agencies.
Statement from Mayor-President Josh Guillory's Administration:
During a meeting with members of Trayford Pellerin’s family last Friday, Mayor-President Josh Guillory made a commitment to allow family members to have a private viewing of bodycam footage related to the circumstances surrounding his death. Tuesday morning a letter was delivered to the office of District Attorney Keith Stutes to inform him of Mayor-President Guillory’s intentions. Late Tuesday afternoon, a district judge signed a restraining order filed by attorneys representing the officers involved in the shooting, prohibiting the video’s release. Mayor-President Guillory is committed to honoring the promise he made to the Pellerin family and has directed City-Parish attorneys to advocate for the accommodation of a private viewing for the family of the footage at a hearing scheduled on September 15, 2020.
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