No indictment in Trayford Pellerin case
LAFAYETTE, Louisiana – A Lafayette Parish grand jury declined to indict anyone on Tuesday in the 2020 Trayford Pellerin murder.
This means that no one will be prosecuted in this case, said Lafayette District Attorney Don Landry.
Landry said he wanted Lafayette to learn lessons from the incident, including the “terrible and damaging power that illicit drugs bring to our community.”
Landry said Pellerin had methamphetamine, THC and nicotine in his blood the night of the shooting. During his press conference, he showed videos from body cameras and stores where Pellerin was seen that night, and said those videos would all be released to the media.
Landry began his press conference at 3:30 p.m. He said the case was presented to the grand jury by prosecutors who had done “an excellent job.”
Landry’s full presentation is included at the end of this story.
“The decision to prosecute must remain free from emotional or political agendas, especially in these troubled times in our country,” Landry said.
Landry said his office conducted its own investigation after the Louisiana State Police investigation was completed. He said there was no dispute on the facts of the case and the only dispute was whether the shooting was justified or not.
He called the Pellerin shooting a “tragedy” that affected the entire community. He spoke of people from out of town coming to fan the flames. He said people come to Acadiana for the food, the music and the weather.
Landry said the case was a tragedy for law enforcement as the officers involved saw “their entire careers judged” by what happened. He then spoke about his time in the Marines.
“We train to face death in the Marine Corps, because it is a reality of working in this profession that Marines will die,” Landry said. “However, I have never had a job as these agents have to keep this community safe.”
He said officers were in danger when there was a threat.
“The officers in this case have reacted to a dangerous situation,” he said. “I think it is very clear that the officers in this matter were seriously affected by the event that took place.”
Landry said he wanted to be sure the incident was fully investigated and the safety of the community was ensured.
Landry showed video inside a store Pellerin visited shortly before heading to the store where he was shot. He walks into the store and stands by the door as the clerk talks to him. He comes and goes in the store while the clerk asks where he’s from and if he’s okay.
Most of the people in the store wear masks, but not Pellerin. Every now and then Pellerin looks out the window, as if looking for someone. He seems to be smiling. When someone approaches the door, they step back to allow them to pass.
At one point, he appears to be waving to someone else in the store, then walks away. He then returns, takes a drink and waits at the door again.
He then calls out a woman’s name.
The clerk says she’s out. He said no, she was in the bathroom. And then he goes back to the bathroom. The clerk tells him he can’t go back. He’s going back.
Landry says Pellerin had a knife in his hand when he left. It’s hard to see, but if it’s a knife, it appears to be a paring knife three to four inches long.
The employee calls the police and says her clients are “terrified” because Pellerin continues to “scream and throw things”. Pellerin can be seen throwing a cup of water in front of the front door when he leaves for the second time.
He opens the door while the clerk is on the phone with the police and yells at them, saying he knows the woman is in there and that she will face a kidnapping charge.
Another 911 call is played, from a woman who says she saw a man with a knife outside the store. The dispatcher asks if he is fighting with anyone and the caller says no. The dispatcher asks if he was threatening anyone, and the appellant says he didn’t and just put the knife back in his bag and started walking.
While the caller is on the phone, an agent arrives.
This officer’s body camera is then played. He sees Pellerin in the middle of the entrance, and shouts at him to come to the police unit because “you are going to be run over”. Pellerin seems to hear him, but continues to walk away.
The officer chases him over the shoulder on foot and tries to shoot Pellerin with the taser. He continually tells Pellerin to get to the ground, as traffic passes over the highway – including several 18 wheelers. It is dusk and the vehicles have their lights on.
Other officers respond and can be seen blocking traffic as Pellerin crosses the lane. The officer continues to chase him into the doorway, shouting for him to stop and get down.
He continues to walk towards a second store, as the first officer shouts that “the taser will not work”. As he reaches the door, several officers shoot at Pellerin and his body falls to the ground.
Landry said the taser pins “probably” hit Pellerin’s satchel instead of his body. He says Pellerin lit the officer with the knife in his hand, but the officer did not shoot him at that time – although the officer would have been right to shoot Pellerin at that time. .
The body camera images of another officer are then shown. Landry said officers could not let Pellerin enter the store where he could injure someone or “take a hostage.” This second officer is heard telling Pellerin to drop the knife several times. A police car stops a few inches from Pellerin as he heads for the second store, trying to stop him. He bangs on the hood of the vehicle and continues to walk.
“Trayford Pellerin could have dropped the knife, and he would have survived,” Landry said.
Landry says a K-9 officer was there on the driveway and at the store, but there were too many people nearby and no chance of using the dog to neutralize Pellerin at the shooting site.
“These officers have gone beyond the demands of the use of lethal force in this matter,” he said.
Officers were aware of the many passers-by and tried to protect everyone, he said. Police officers repeatedly told him to drop the knife, get down on the ground and stop, he said. The body camera audio has been enhanced by the FBI so that what was said can be clearly heard, Landry said.
To see Haley’s Presser story, click here.
Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory’s office sent a statement following Landry’s press conference.
Earlier today, District Attorney Don Landry called a grand jury related to the Trayford Pellerin shooting in late August 2020. The grand jury returned a ‘no real bill’, which came to nothing no indictment against the officers involved. The grand jury’s conclusion that criminal charges against the officers are not justified does not change the fact that a family has lost a son and the community continues to mourn.
We know that the Pellerin family and the community still have questions about the case. We have remained firm in our position to allow the Louisiana State Police criminal investigation and grand jury process by the prosecutor’s office to proceed as planned without any interference. This was intended not to hinder or prejudice a fair process owed to all parties involved.
Mayor-President Josh Guillory has always expressed his intention to release body camera footage to family and the public. Nothing has changed in this regard. Despite our desire to be transparent and to share video from police body cameras in our possession, the fact remains that this information was evidence in an ongoing investigation.
The criminal proceedings and the grand jury are over.
Thus, in accordance with the wishes expressed by the President Mayor, and to ensure transparency and more clarity to members of the community, the body camera images of the agents who responded the night of the incident, as well as the calls to 911 performed by civilians can now be released.
The video will be released on an ongoing basis in accordance with the Louisiana Public Records Act. “
Pellerin was fatally shot by officers in Lafayette on August 21, 2020 after, according to police, he attempted to break into a busy convenience store along the NW Evangeline Thruway while he was armed with a knife.
A video taken by cell phone of Pellerin as he made his way to the convenience store has gone viral and has led to mass protests in Lafayette.
Trayford Pellerin’s parents filed a civil action in Federal Court against the Lafayette Consolidated Government and Lafayette Police Department in October 2020. A hearing for this case is still pending.
Louisiana state police last month completed their investigation into the shooting and turned their case over to the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. A week later, Pellerin’s family met with the prosecutor to discuss the LSP’s decision that the shooting was justified.
Recently, Pellerin’s father told us the family didn’t think Trayford had a knife.
“We need justice, transparency, accountability because anyone who has seen the video can know this is blatant murder,” Pellerin said. “It’s overkill too.”
“Their justification was that he had a knife and was going to walk into this convenience store,” Pellerin said.
Police also said they tried to use a taser on several occasions to arrest Trayford, but his family provided us with copies of a preliminary autopsy report which found no evidence that he was ever hit with it. a taser.
Although the family saw footage from a body camera that was filming the night of the shoot, none have ever been made public.
After meeting with the prosecutor following the state police decision, Haley said the family was frustrated and the community should be too.
“The frustration should be related to the policy within the police department of withholding information to the public regarding the wrongful death of its citizen, which has been done here,” Haley said.
Complete presentation of Landry: