CLINTON — A state district judge convicted a Clinton alderman Tuesday on a misdemeanor charge of interfering with a law enforcement investigation.
Twentieth Judicial District Court Judge George H. Ware Jr. said testimony from both state and defense witnesses showed that Alderman Clovis Matthews violated the statue in at least four instances while Clinton police tried to investigate a scuffle involving two juveniles and a driving while intoxicated charge against the mother of one of the boys.
Ware said Matthews had questioned police Staff Sgt. James Cook about not having a warrant to search the driver’s vehicle when his property was not involved, refused to leave the scene when ordered, later left the scene with witnesses including his daughter and parked his car in the middle of the street.
The judge ordered Matthews to pay a $250 fine and court costs and gave him a suspended 45-day jail term on the condition he perform 15 eight-hour days of public service work for the town of Clinton.
Ware also put Matthews on bench probation for a year on the further condition that he have no more trouble with the law.
The charges stemmed from a Dec. 30 incident at Clarence and Bayou streets in Clinton.
Clinton officers did not arrest Matthews, but a grand jury indicted him on the misdemeanor count in May.
Cook testified that Matthews apparently was intoxicated when he arrived at the scene, and the former state trooper also said Matthews has been at odds with the Police Department since an alderman’s relative was arrested three days before the Dec. 30 incident.
Police Chief Eddie Stewart testified that Matthews called him later that night and told him to fire Cook or he would get the Board of Aldermen to fire Stewart.