Rally leader: Port Arthur sergeant should resign

Published 6:10 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

By Ken Stickney


The chair of Port Arthur Police Chief Patrick Melvin’s advisory board said Sgt. Chris Billiot ought to resign.

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Reginald Trainer, Port Arthur Police Advisory Board chair, rallied a handful of members of his group and other supporters in front of the Port Arthur Police Station on Thursday, saying that Billiot’s comments during a Jan. 18 Port Arthur Police Association meeting posed a threat to the public, especially to African Americans.

“When you talk about cutting our necks, that’s very offensive,” he said.

Billiot was accused of saying at a Jan. 18 Police Association executive board meeting, “Chief is bleeding and we should step on his neck and cut his head off.” The police union denies a threat was made.

That comment was passed along to Melvin, who is serving his second year as Port Arthur chief. He recently was a finalist for the top police job in St. Louis, which went to a local candidate.

Melvin asked other city officials — interim city manager Harvey Robinson, city attorney Val Tizeno, and assistant city attorney Gaylyn Cooper — for an investigation of Billiot’s remarks, including a request for help from the Texas Rangers.

Melvin apparently believes Billiot’s remarks, although not spoken directly to him, nonetheless pose a physical threat to him and his family.

The police union’s attorney said neither Billiot nor any executive board member ever threatened the chief.

“Anyone who says anything to the contrary is simply attempting to create a news story where none exists or has totally misinterpreted comments that were made in an attempt to garner support or sympathy,” attorney Lance Bradley said last week.

But Trainer said Thursday that Billiot never apologized to the chief, his superior officer, and that “when the chief is threatened the public is threatened.”

Joseph Guillory, a Port Arthur school board member and candidate for justice of the peace, said comments such as Billiot’s hurt department morale. Guillory, who served a year in law enforcement in Louisiana and attended the rally, said officers need to show “respect for authority.”

“Who are you going to protect if you talk about the chief like that?” Trainer said. “I don’t feel safe with that.”

The Texas Rangers said in an email to The Port Arthur News last week that they had not started an investigation. The newspaper sent a second email Thursday morning to inquire if and when an investigation would begin, but did not receive a reply by Thursday afternoon.