Viral LEO Clay Higgins eyes public office, refutes claims of threats, violence

Higgins said politicians dredging up hurtful issues from the past is what's wrong with this country


The Advocate

BATON ROUGE, La. — Clay Higgins gained worldwide fame through his tough-talking videos as a St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s captain.

Called the Cajun John Wayne, his taunting on Crime Stoppers of criminal suspects — “If you raise your weapon to a man like me we’ll return fire with superior fire” — landed Higgins a spot on the Tonight Show.

His resignation in February after St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz asked him to tone it down received ink as far away as Great Britain. “Some horses just don’t run well with a bit in their mouth,” he said on the steps of the courthouse in Opelousas

While quick to point out the faults in others, Higgins also often alludes to his own imperfections in his videos.

As a young man in the 1990s, his wife accused Higgins in court of threatening her. He said it was time of turmoil, one of those times he refers to in videos. But he’s sure he never did what his ex-wife alleged in court records.

“He had put a gun to my head before, during an argument,” Eloisa Rovati Higgins said in a June 1991 handwritten petition seeking a protective order, which was granted by the Family Court in East Baton Rouge Parish.

“He threatened that if I ever came near the house he would shoot me,” she wrote.

Higgins told The Advocate Thursday that he hadn’t read the court documents, but said he would never do that — “there was no violence in our relationship, ever” — and that he still loves his former wife, despite the divorce. She has since died, he said.

The divorce that ended their seven-year marriage, in which Higgins’ alleged adultery was the ground cited, was finalized on Sept. 11, 1991.

These episodes took place during the stressful months after the couple’s six-month-old daughter died.

“We were crushed, as human beings, by the death of our little girl,” Higgins said, adding that he still celebrates Daniela Michelle’s birthday.

“For the only time in my life, I was not strong enough as a man for myself and my wife. And I can never forgive myself because I just didn’t have the strength to survive myself and pull her through,” Higgins said.

“I spent the first 40 years of my life trying to assassinate my own character, but was incapable because God had another plan for me,” Higgins said. He turns 55 in August, according to court records.

Higgins said politicians dredging up hurtful issues from the past — and newspapers reporting them — is what’s wrong with politics in the country. He plans to announce his political intentions on Wednesday.

He’s either running for the Lafayette/Lake Charles-based Third Congressional seat or for the U.S. Senate, both seats are open in the November election.

“I will go to Washington D.C. representing the real Americans and the real Acadiana,” Higgins told KLAF-TV in Lafayette earlier this week.

Higgins has yet to file with the Federal Elections Commission, the proper paperwork and disclosures to become an official candidate.

His Crime Stoppers segments went viral on the Internet. Delivered in monotone, Higgins often would address suspects directly on television.

For instance, in a segment that got him hot water with American Civil Liberties Union, Higgins called out an alleged gang member being sought by the authorities. “Young man, I’ll meet you on solid ground, anytime, any where, light or heavy (meaning carrying weapons) It makes no difference to me. You won’t walk away,” Higgins said, while holding an assault rifle.

The ACLU became involved because families of the gang members being sought said the segment made them fear for their lives. St. Landry Parish Sheriff Guidroz asked Higgins to “tone down his unprofessional comments on our weekly Crime Stoppers messages.”

Higgins resigned.

He then released a video that he said was to gauge his support as a politician.

Wearing a police officer’s uniform, Higgins said in the video that America is in peril because elitist politicians “have seized power in Washington and squandered our wealth, mortgaged our children’s futures and betrayed our trust.”

He said prisons are overflowing, the borders are not secure, the country is facing a $20 trillion, and the nation’s history is being rewritten.

“Some of it horrors of our own creation. This is the way of a man’s life. My own is no exception, nor is yours and thus also is the way of a nation’s life,” Higgins said. “A man’s character shouldn’t be measured by how he falls. But he should be measured by how he stands back up.”

Copyright 2016 The Advocate

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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