LAFAYETTE, La. – A Louisiana woman who said she wanted to open a dialogue about issues in her community, including the deadly police shooting of Trayford Pellerin, was arrested after throwing a barbecue outside the mayor’s home.
“Usually, when you sit at a table and you eat with people, even complete strangers, open up the dialogue to have good conversation, and that was the goal of yesterday,” Tara Laxey, of Lafayette, told KATC.
Pellerin, a 31-year-old Black man, was shot to death Aug. 21 during an encounter with Lafayette police officers.
Laxey said a member of Mayor Josh Guillory’s administration, Chief of Minority Affairs Carlos Harvin, met with her at the beginning of the cookout Saturday. However, she said, he quickly left after getting a call.
“He got a call right after he got there from Josh and you can hear him say, ‘Okay Mr. Mayor, I understand. I got you.’ And he left,” Laxey said. “The same man who a couple of hours before on the phone wanted to speak and address the community to bridge the gap because that’s basically his job title.”
Police arrived shortly afterward, and Laxey was arrested and is facing disturbing the peace and obstruction of public passages charges, KATC reported.
“As I’m talking to the police officers, OK, well it’s a public street. Well, then I’ll put it in my truck. That’s a hazard. OK, can I put it on the sidewalk then? No that’s obstructing traffic also. OK, what about the grass between the sidewalk and the street? Can I put it there?” Laxey recalled. “And then before I knew it, they didn’t say if you don’t move, you can get arrested. They said something about a 10-15 and ma’am we’re putting you under arrest.”
Guillory described the incident as inappropriate.
“That’s not protest. That’s public intimidation. My wife and my children had to witness that just like many in the community have had to witness that,” Guillory said at a press conference. “Our community will not — will not — tolerate civil unrest.”
Laxey, who bonded out of jail with money raised by her community, said she meant no harm but said she did want the mayor “to feel a bit uncomfortable.” She also said she wants Guillory to protect the community, which she said has been “ignored.”
“Anyone who has been paying attention to the last, what, three, four months — we’ve been fighting about this budget. The recreational centers, how he’s targeted District 5 only in the rec centers,” she said. “Telling him he’s being racially insensitive, and I need you to be more aware of the words and behaviors that you choose.”