St. Landry DA’s office declines to prosecute Sunset’s police chief _lowres

Sunset Chief of Police Candidate Luis Padilla,

St. Landry Parish prosecutors will not file charges against Sunset Police Chief Luis Padilla, who was accused of misrepresenting himself as chief before he was elected to office.

The District Attorney’s Office reviewed the investigative file this month and found there “was not sufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution” in Padilla’s September arrest on a count of impersonating a peace officer, First Assistant DA Frank Trosclair Jr. said.

Padilla, 56, was also a specially commissioned deputy with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office at the time of his arrest, Trosclair said.

“There was some confusion,” he added.

The Sheriff’s Office could not confirm late Tuesday the nature of Padilla’s commission. Padilla declined to comment.

Padilla was arrested Sept. 29 on accusations he had approached a man in a parking lot two days before, falsely identified himself as chief of police, flashed a badge and then questioned the man about what he was doing in the area.

At the time, Padilla — who had been police chief of Sunset from 1999 to 2002 — was one of five candidates running for the position in the Nov. 4 election.

After losing re-election bids to Alexcie Guillory in 2002, 2006 and 2010, Padilla was elected with 53 percent of the vote in a December runoff against Chad Primeaux.

Guillory did not seek re-election last year.

Padilla’s September arrest was not the only time he’s faced criminal charges.

During his first term in office, he was sentenced to a year of probation after pleading no contest to a false swearing charge in a mishandled evidence investigation. He was accused of giving inconsistent testimony.

Because the charge was a misdemeanor, Padilla was not required to step down.

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