Scuffle leads to political controversy

August 29, 2006
By Theresa Schmidt

A fight in a Dollar General Store in Oberlin on Saturday has erupted into a political controversy involving the police department.

Witnesses say it started when a 17 year old woman couldn't find the medicine she wanted for her infant and started cursing wildly in the store. Manager Denise Clayton says cashier Wade Guillory asked the woman to stop with the foul language. "We didn't have the kind of medicine she wanted and she was upset over it and she was cursing and Wade asked her to quit and she didn't like that."

Ultimately witnesses say the girl left and her boyfriend came back--and attacked Guillory. He says, "I have 16 stitches in my back.'' They're still cleaning up and these photos show the aftermath. Besides the property damage and having to close the store early, what really upsets everyone is the alleged culprit made the comment nothing will come of the charges... "He made the statement his father's on Oberlin city council and he will get off."

Plus he was allowed to drive away in his own car and is a cousin of the investigating officer with the Oberlin Police Department. Complains Guillory, "I mean this is battery, assault. He assaulted me on my job and I got a ticket for disturbing the peace when I'm at work. I don't understand why they didn't arrest him."  Clayton adds, "They let him drive off from here in his own vehicle. Somebody who comes into a place of business and jumps on somebody? Nellie Guillory is Wade's mother.   She is outraged.  "He (Wade) was on his job doing his job waiting on customers and this big ole ape came in here and attacked him. And it's all about who knows who, whose daddy is on city council, the law and election."

While we were in the store the Oberlin Police Chief Richard Young came in and the next thing we knew we were asked to leave the store. Young says he asked the local manager to call her district manager, because he wanted to know if the Dollar Store had invited KPLC inside the store. Young denies it was his intent was to get us kicked out of the store.

Young says the reason the suspect was not arrested was because the jail was full. "We were requested by the Allen Parish Jail, any misdemeanor offenses to issue citations and release them." He says it's a misdemeanor because no weapon was involved and damage was less than 500 dollars, though store officials say the damage involves thousands. And he denies the man involved will be given political favoritism.   "It's not whether he's related to the city councilman or George Bush. It's not our decision whether the charges will be dropped or not."

Lieutenant Grady Haynes,  who is investigating the incident,  admits he's related to the suspect. "That's a cousin, distant cousin." But he says that did not influence his handling of the case.

At last word police were still finalizing reports to be submitted to the district attorney.

At first Chief Young said the attention being given to the incident was politically motivated, but he now says he may be wrong about that. Young has one opponent in his current race for re-election September 30th.