Lake Charles Marshal's Office responds to controversial video taken during Chicken Run

Lake Charles Marshal's Office responds to controversial video taken during Chicken Run
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Controversial words from a volunteer Lake Charles Deputy Marshal were caught on camera during Sunday's Chicken Run.

Jamal Carmouche wasn't expecting his first time to the Lake Charles Annual Chicken Run to be this controversial. 
In one of two videos Carmouche posted, he and others were riding their horses down the street. Carmouche says he was trying to slow down when he saw a volunteer Deputy Marshal in the street. As he was passing by he says the Deputy Marshal hit his horse.

"When I got up to him, and I (saw) him come from around his back with his stick, I was already pulling up before I (saw) the stick out his hand," said Carmouche.

But once Carmouche went to put his horse up that's when he found out the officer said he would have shot him, leaving him completely shocked.

"This guy actually came out his mouth and said you're lucky," he said. "You're telling my family member you're lucky I didn't shoot him off the horse. For what? What have I done for you to say that to my family?"

"It was totally mishandled, "said Chris Ardoin, founder of the event.

Ardoin says he saw the video and was angry at what happened.

"It's making my city look bad, and this is not what we're about," he said.

KPLC reached out to the Marshal's office where Marshal Joey Alcede didn't want to go on camera but had this to say about the incident:

"I think in the heat of the moment he said some things that he probably realized he shouldn't have said. I don't think he would have done that, but sometimes in the heat of the moment we say some things that don't come across very good. I think what he was trying to say was that he was trying to protect himself. Now to say he would go that far and shoot someone, I think that was a poor choice of words." 

KPLC also spoke with the Deputy Marshal in the video, Gary Higginbothom, who didn't want to go on camera but responded to the comments he made.

"I wish I wouldn't have said that, but at the time it just happened. I was scared….they came running straight at me."

He also had this to say about everything happening on social media:

"They can leave my family alone. They've posted my family on the internet. They've said I was racist and I'm not a racist person. There's nothing racist in this. Had there been a white man on a horse the same thing would have happened." 

When it comes to the future of the Chicken Run Ardoin doesn't have the answer to that yet, but he says if it ended it wouldn't be by his choice.

"To see them really trying to shut it down, and they're not trying to hide it that they're trying to shut it down, they're just being blatant with it…it's kind of hurtful," he said. "If the higher ups don't want it, and it doesn't happen, it was a good run."

As for Carmouche he says what happened Sunday has changed his views of law enforcement.

"To say you're lucky he didn't get shot of his horse, I have the right to shoot him off his horse, I should have shot him," he said. "For what?"

Higginbotham says he's worked the Chicken Run for the last 15 years. After this incident he doesn't plan to work the event again.

Marshal Alcede says their office as well as the Lake Charles Police Department, and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office are working on an after action report to handle everything that happened at the Chicken Run.

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