NEW ROADS — After 21 years as the District 3 representative on the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury, Russell Young has announced plans to walk away from his elected position.
Young, who filed a letter of resignation two weeks ago with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office, on Friday called his intention to resign from office on Sept. 16 an “act of protest” connected to his year-and-a-half-long clash with New Roads Mayor Robert Myer and the town’s City Council.
The juror’s beef with New Roads leaders stems from the council’s March 5, 2013, decision to deny Young a permit to stage a protest against the Police Department, which he feels failed to properly investigate a complaint he filed last year against a fellow police juror.
Minutes from the March 2013 meeting indicate Young expressed concerns to the City Council that he felt Police Chief Kevin McDonald had “unprofessionally” handled the investigation into his claim that Police Juror Justin Cox had tried to run Young over with his vehicle after a Police Jury meeting in January 2013.
McDonald said Friday the Police Department never found any substantial evidence — from witness statements — supporting Young’s accusation.
“I thought their investigation was basically tainted; they did no investigation,” Young said. “They tried to suppress it as much as they possibly could.”
The police chief said the case was turned over to the District Attorney’s Office, which didn’t file any charges due to a lack of evidence.
The New Roads council denied Young’s request to picket City Hall on a 4-1 vote with Councilman Kurt Kellerman casting the lone dissenting vote.
“My constitutional rights are more important than being a police juror,” Young said. “I’m very bitter they would do such a thing. What would be the reason for them denying me my First Amendment rights?”
The city’s ordinance gives the council authority to deny anyone’s request to stage a public demonstration within the city limits if it threatens public “welfare, peace, safety, health, decency, good order morals or convenience.”
“Their ordinance does not supersede the Constitution,” Young said. “If you’re going to deny me my constitutional rights, you’re either promoting communism or you’re a dictator.”
Young was offended again when he said the mayor had him removed from the agenda for an April council meeting where he wanted to confront the council about its permit decision.
The mayor did not return calls Friday seeking comment.
Young said the issue won’t be resolved until Myer, City Council members and other parish leaders stand on the steps of the parish courthouse and publicly state he has First Amendment rights in New Roads.
Mayor Pro-Tem Anthony Daisy said Friday that probably won’t happen.
“He can go ahead and resign; Russell is insane,” Daisy said. “I’m standing on the ground we were correct in what we did.”
Jury President Melanie Bueche said Young’s resignation will force the Police Jury, within 20 days after he leaves office, to appoint someone else to finish his term, which expires in January 2016.
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter @tjonesreporter.