At least 50 protesters staged a sit-in outside of Lafayette City Hall on Monday after the death of Trayford Pellerin at the hands of police.

The sit-in began about 11 a.m. when protesters said they weren't allowed inside City Hall, which they said is their right as taxpayers and citizens.

They sought to lodge their complaints over how Friday's police shooting is being handled.

“They will try to make you believe that you’re acting crazy, that you’re being ridiculous, but the truth is, they don’t want to hear what you have to say,” one protester said to the crowd.

The protesters were also calling for the resignation of Mayor-President Josh Guillory.

Lafayette Consolidated Government employees who work inside of City Hall were told over an intercom that they couldn't use the main entrance, where protesters alternated between chanting and sitting in silence.

As the crowd persisted, there was increased police presence around City Hall. 

After a couple of hours, Lafayette Parish Councilman A.B. Rubin told protesters that elected officials had left early in preparation for the hurricanes and wouldn’t be around to address their concerns.

“It is absolutely disgusting,” community activist Jamal Taylor said in response to the announcement.

Bailey Beard, a 20-year-old Rayne resident, addressed the crowd nervously after the announcement.

"I just wanted to let you guys know to not get discouraged just because we didn't get to talk to the people we wanted to talk to today," Beard said. "We can still go home and have important conversations with our family members, with our friends about what is happening. Because if they don't support the causes that you're supporting, they don't support you."

Beard, who is White, said she has never taken part in protests locally before now.

"This has always been a problem, but this time it just hit so close to home," she said.

Cory Levier, a community activist, demanded a response from Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory by 5 p.m. Tuesday and a new police task force with community members no later than Sept. 6.

“This is urgent,” Levier said.

Monday's sit-in followed two nights of protests, which started peacefully but ended in confrontations between protesters and police on both nights.

Three people were arrested for blocking the road during Saturday protests, and six people were arrested for the same reason during Sunday protests.

Acadiana activists are working in partnership with Baton Rouge and New Orleans organizations that are part of the National Bail Fund Network to post bond for those arrested during protests.

"I just want people to know that so they're not afraid to show up," said Natalie McElyea, who is spearheading the local effort. "We have support here in Lafayette."

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Sunday's protest started at Lafayette City Hall before protesters blocked traffic at major intersections, including Ambassador Caffery Parkway at Johnston Street and Kaliste Saloom Road at Camellia Boulevard.

Some protesters then went to the gas station on the Evangeline Thruway where Pellerin was shot.

Around midnight, after most of the protesters left the gas station, things turned violent with the looting of a nearby store and a shooting that injured two.

The looting took place at Citi Trends, a clothing store at 2007 N.W. Evangeline Thruway, and the shooting took place in the strip mall parking lot where the store is located, according to Sgt. Wayne Griffin, spokesperson for the Lafayette Police Department.

Those injured by gunfire were transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Griffin said.

One person was arrested in connection to the looting, but police are still seeking the person or people responsible for the shooting.

"It was chaotic," Griffin said. 

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact Lafayette Police or Crimestoppers.

The Friday night shooting of Pellerin by Lafayette Police was captured on bystander video and shared widely on social media.

It shows at least five Lafayette Police officers approaching a Black man with what witnesses said was a knife in his hand walking away from police toward a convenience store. Video then shows officers open fire near the entrance of the convenience store and at least 10 shots can be heard.

The 31-year-old man is then seen lying on the ground.

Pellerin had a history of arrests for drug possession with the intent to distribute both marijuana and cocaine, resisting arrest, assault and battery, possession of a firearm by a felon and damage to property.

Following an April 2006 arrest for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana and resisting arrest Pellerin was sentence to five years in prison, which was suspended. Two years later, the probation and parole office indicated he violated the terms of his probation. Pellerin admitted he was dropped from the drug court program for not attending, court records show.

Pellerin was arrested in 2009 for possession of cocaine and pleaded guilty as charged. His five-year sentence was suspended. Pellerin’s probation was revoked after he was arrested for simple criminal damage to property and simple assault in April of 2013 and possession of a firearm/concealed weapon by a convicted felon in July 2013. He also reported to the parole office only once and gave them an incorrect home address.

In March of 2014, records show Pellerin was to serve the remainder of his jail term, with credit for time served. The court recommended he attend drug treatment while in jail.

A GoFundMe called Justice for Trayford Pellerin has been organized by a family member. About $12,000 had been raised as of Monday afternoon.

Guillory, who has been criticized by activists for acknowledging the work of law enforcement without offering condolences to Pellerin's family, touched on the topic during a press conference Monday afternoon. He also said he will not be resigning from his elected position as Lafayette mayor-president.

"We do have a family in our community that is hurting, and we can recognize that. We have a member in our community that was fatally shot," Guillory said.

"As a member of this community, I stand before you, grieving the fact that we have a family in pain."


Email Megan Wyatt at mwyatt@theadvocate.com.