Bar fight prompts civil rights lawsuit against Golden Meadow police chief

Bar fight prompts lawsuit against Golden Meadow police chief

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Golden Meadow police chief said he has to defend his name after learning of a lawsuit against him. Civil rights attorney William Most said his clients need an apology from Chief Reggie Pitre for an altercation that happened at a bar last year.

"Chief Pitre says Jason punches him. That was a lie,” Most said.

Most said the surveillance video from the bar shows that the chief punched his client, Jason Cortez, in the face and threw Jason’s wife, Chloe, to the ground at TK Sports Bar.

“He pulled them outside,” Most said. “Cortez was then restrained by other bar patrons. The police chief reached over them and punched Jason Cortez square in the face.”

Pitre said that’s not what happened. He told FOX 8 he did not want to go on camera but agreed to talked to us off camera. Pitre said Jason Cortez was intoxicated, and according to his official report, Cortez disturbed the band multiple times, including knocking a microphone into the singer.

"They were asked several times during the evening to de-escalate - and obviously, they did not - by myself, the bar owner and patrons in the bar,” Pitre said.

In Pitre’s report, the chief said Cortez punched him and his wife scratched him. Pitre admits punching Jason, but said it was only in self-defense.

“When someone’s level of impairment is creating danger for himself and those around him, I have to react,” Pitre said.

Assistant Chief Charles Finley arrived shortly after the scuffle outside. Chief Pitre said Jason hit him in the face twice and to put him under arrest, which he did. But days after the incident, Finley reviewed the bar’s surveillance video and updated his report by saying at no point during the interaction inside the bar did Jason hit the chief. The lawsuit states Finley apologized to the Cortezs.

"My clients did everything right here,” attorney Most said.

Pitre said he will fight the lawsuit because it’s a stain on his character.

“I’m a great guy. I’m all about charity. I’m active in the community.”

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