Clay Higgins, the man popularly known as the ‘Cajun John Wayne,’ was sworn in Wednesday as a reserve deputy for the Lafayette city marshal.
KATC-TV, quoting an unnamed spokesman for the Marshal’s Office, said Higgins will assist in the office’s daily duties and will participate in all training exercises that deputies are required to have.
Higgins, who became an Internet sensation for his work as the St. Landry Parish Crime Stoppers spokesman, left the St. Landry Sheriff’s Office last month after controversy erupted over a video he produced at the behest of State Police.
Using the colorful commentary that brought him national fame in his Crime Stoppers videos, Higgins had a message for the seven alleged Gremlins street-gang members, of the Abbeville area: “You will be hunted. You will be trapped. And if you raise your weapon to a man like me, we’ll return fire with superior fire.”
Higgins calls the accused criminals “animals” and “heathens,” and perhaps anticipating backlash from the production, he also makes note of the black community members standing behind him in the video.
The American Civil Liberties Union objected, saying: “Assuming that what is reported is true, Mr. Higgins has suggested that those he seeks to arrest are subject to execution before trial.”
St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz had said he agreed with the sentiments aired in the Gremlins video but noted he had continuously asked Higgins to “tone down his unprofessional comments.”
The sheriff also said he repeatedly asked Higgins “to stop saying divisive, disrespectful or demeaning things like, ‘You have no brain cells,’ ‘knuckleheads’ or ‘liars.’ ”
Nevertheless, Higgins remained popular and, at his news conference announcing his resignation, said: “I would die rather than sacrifice my principles. I would leave my wife without a husband, my children without a daddy, rather than kneel to the very forces of evil that I have so long stood against.”
Higgins began working in St. Landry Parish law enforcement roles in 2004 and joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2011.