Embattled police chief's support remains strong

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – The police chief of Welsh remains under pressure to resign after using a racial slur in a text message on his public cell phone, yet many citizens remain supportive of him.

Welsh Police Chief Tommy Chaisson sent the message to his wife, whom he was having martial issues with.

"My wife and I are going through some problems," Chief Chaisson said. "I found out something she had done. It upset me, and it hurt me, and I texted her some messages and I used some racial slurs."

That racial slur was the N-word.

After learning about the text message, town officials called for Chief Chaisson's resignation during a town council meeting.

"We wanted the people of Welsh to know how strongly we felt about this," said Welsh Mayor Judy Louviere. "We all have to separate our personal lives from our jobs."

When the town council asked him to resign, Chief Chaisson refused. Because the police chief is elected and not appointed, the town council has no authority to make Chief Chaisson step down.

"They felt like it was inappropriate for me to have done that and they are absolutely right," said Chief Chaisson. "I just don't feel like it was severe enough to resign for."

Michael Pruehomme, an African-American Welsh resident, said he wasn't offended by Chief Chaisson's comments, noting how the police chief had been supportive of the community.

"He's been there for the people," said Pruehomme. "[The text message] was between him and his wife. That wasn't no one else's business. That was family business."

All of the citizens KPLC interviewed on Sunday in Welsh said they supported Chief Chaisson, calling him "a good, fair man."

However, many people commenting on the KPLC Hot Topic Blog don't feel the same way about Chief Chaisson. One person wrote, "I for one will not rest until he is out of office, as we do not need anyone with such views holding public office. This truly is a travesty of justice."

Meanwhile, Chief Chaisson remained apologetic on Thursday.

"I don't normally talk like that. I don't talk like that at all," said Chief Chaisson. "I am not prejudice. I just vented and I [regret] that that happened."

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