UPDATE: D.A.'s Office rejects case against Vinton Councilman - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

UPDATE: D.A.'s Office rejects case against Vinton Councilman

VINTON, LA (KPLC) -

Update:

The Calcasieu Parish District Attorney's Office decides to not act on a complaint filed against a Vinton Councilman. Vinton resident Brad Rasberry filed a complaint last week against Councilman Kevin Merchant alleging he made a verbal threat after a heated argument.

Vinton Police Chief Ricky Fox interviewed all parties involved and forwarded his findings to the Calcasieu District Attorney's Office. After reviewing the case the D.A.'s Office rejected the charge of disturbing the peace due to lack of information.

Original Story:

There are strong allegations in the town of Vinton, where one resident is claiming a councilman there made a threat. While it's one man's word against another - the matter is under investigation. 

You would be hard pressed to not find Brad Rasberry at a Vinton Town Council meeting. He admits his opinion isn't always popular with those on the council. 

"Very seldom do I miss one," said Rasberry. "I feel like this town should be in better shape than it is from the different revenues we obtain," said Brad Rasberry, Vinton resident.

According to Rasberry while he was overseeing work on property he purchased last Thursday, a truck drover up while he was talking to a hired trucker hauling dirt. 

"Truck pulled out and I didn't recognize who it was and they stopped and they hollered out the window and said, 'Is that guy bothering you,'" recalled Rasberry. "I knew he wasn't talking to me. I didn't realize who it was and the trucker said, no."

Rasberry said the man in the truck was Vinton Councilman Kevin Merchant. He claims Merchant got out of the truck and initiated a confrontation.

"I said, I don't like you and you don't like me. You need to go," explained Rasberry.

Rasberry said words were exchanged and things got heated.

"He's fairly 6 foot something, big man. He says , you're nothing but a little piece of s**t. I said well then that makes you a big piece of s**t," said Rasberry.

Rasberry said the hired hand witnessed it all, including when Merchant allegedly crossed the line.

"He said, I'm going to whip your f***ing a**," said Rasberry.

At no point did it get physical, but Rasberry did file a complaint with the Vinton Police Department.

We did contact Councilman Merchant for a response. He declined to go on camera, but did release this statement:

"I was made aware that a complaint was filed. I gave a statement, but am not going to respond publicly until the D.A.'s Office makes a determination."

When asked if he made the threat - Merchant said:

"I've always been told you can't defend a lie. It's baseless and will ultimately be disproven."

Meanwhile Rasberry is not sure if anything will happen.

"I really don't know. I just want people to be aware. I just think that a public official... If you and I are discussing an issue and get in an argument and rant and rave - that's one thing. But a public official shouldn't be talking to a constituent. They are supposed to be above that," said Rasberry.

Vinton Police Chief Ricky Fox said he is investigating the complaint and interviewed the parties involved and will forward his findings to the Calcasieu District Attorney's Office.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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