By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – It was only a matter of time before Captain Clay Higgins of the St. Landry parish sheriff’s department drew the ire of the ACLU and frankly, it’s surprising that it hasn’t happened before now.
Captain Higgins makes Chuck Norris tremble. Captain Higgins is the tough talking, straight shooting spokesman for the St. Landry Sheriff’s Office and his weekly Crime Stoppers videos are a combination of John Wayne straight talk, Chuck Norris machismo, and tent-revival preaching. He doesn’t work from a script and generally nails the segments in just one take.
His most recent video targets at-large members of the Gremlins street gang who have been terrorizing at least four Acadiana parishes in recent months. The Louisiana State Police reached out to Capt. Higgins to use his popular Crime Stoppers platform to make the video which pulled together law enforcement officials from several parishes.
In this video, which you can watch here, Higgins stands in front of a veritable army of officers and growls straight into the camera. He begins the video in his beige uniform shirt and Smoky Bear hat, but by the end, after calling out the gang members by name, he is in SWAT gear and is heavily armed, as are those behind him:
The Gremlins street gang is responsible for hundreds of violent crimes: murders, armed robberies, witness intimidation, burglaries, drug trafficking, extortion, and brutal beatings. We’ve arrested ten of these thugs and have warrants on seven more. Every one of these thugs is most definitely armed and dangerous.….We have felony warrants for your arrest. You will be hunted. You will be trapped. And if you raise your weapon to a man like me, we will return fire with superior fire.
Darren Carter, you think men like these are afraid of an uneducated, 125 pound punk like you that’s never won a fair fight a day in your life and holds your gun sideways? Young man, I’ll meet you on solid ground anytime, anywhere light or heavy. Makes no difference to me, you won’t walk away. Look at you! Men like us, son, we do dumbbell presses with weights bigger than you! …
I encourage every citizen watching this to look into your own heart and find the American courage that conquers all evil. I implore you to listen to this message and stand up, take back your streets, take back your country. Come forward with information about these heathens that’ll terrorize your community.
And to those who would use this message as a way to create false racial division in our country, take a close look behind me. Standing next to every cop is a leader of our black community. This is not about race. It’s about right versus wrong. One last message to the Gremlins: you don’t like the things I’ve told you tonight? I got one thing to say. I’m easy to find!
The camera pans out, patriot music swells, and the ACLU goes nuts.
It took less than 24 hours for the ACLU of Louisiana to file a statement with the television station expressing concern that Capt. Higgins might just use vigilante force to apprehend these criminals:
“While we support legal law enforcement and certainly are as concerned as anyone about violence in our neighborhoods, law enforcement officers must be aware of the implications of their public statements. Assuming that what is reported is true, Mr. Higgins has suggested that those he seeks to arrest are subject to execution before trial. The statement that there is a “bounty on their heads” harks back to lawlessness, when people were killed first and questions asked later. That is not the way we operate in a free society, and regardless of Mr. Higgins’ opinions about the guilt of those he seeks to arrest, it is a felony to execute someone simply because you don’t like them.
They also expressed criticism over the use of the word “heathen” because *gasp* it is a “religious term” and we certainly can’t have that:
“He refers to those he seeks to arrest as “heathens.” “Heathen” is a religious term, and unless Mr. Higgins has specific information about the religious beliefs of those individuals, it is both inappropriate and incorrect. And even if it’s true that these individuals, or some of them, are religiously “heathen,” that is of no consequence to their status as criminal suspects. Unless Mr. Higgins believes that all law-abiding people share his personal religious faith – and if he does believe that, he should not be an officer of the law – to call someone a “heathen” and equate that to “criminal” is simply insulting, wrong, and potentially a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
He has somehow insulted hardened murderers by calling them heathens? We certainly can’t have anyone insulting criminals, now.
For the record, “heathen” is indeed a religious term, but in informal usage, it is also defined as “an unenlightened person; a person regarded as lacking culture or moral principles,” which certainly seems to apply here.
In response to the ACLU complaint, Capt. Higgins is not backing down. He has challenged the ACLU to a debate about the matter:
“The ACLU has a point that they feel is righteous, and of course they’re wrong, but that’s subject for debate. I invite them to that debate. I’d like to fill a 10,000 man hall in Baton Rouge. Whoever authored that letter, whatever team authored that letter, I’m sure they’d be happy to debate me in a public forum. We can sell tickets. 10,000 of them at $10.00 apiece and raise $100,000 for charity. I can certainly generate 9,998 of my followers, and they can bring both of theirs, and we’ll have a healthy debate and let the American people decide,” says Higgins.
No word yet if the ACLU will take Captain Higgins up on that offer. I’m betting they don’t.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.