Lee Zurik Investigation: Dashcam video shows parish attorney's arrest

This story starts on Airline Highway in St. John Parish.

From the dash camera of a local state trooper's car, you might notice what the trooper spotted. Back up the video and you should spot the car on the left end of the video, stopped in the middle of the road with the lights off.

The trooper immediately turned his lights on. What ensued was not your ordinary traffic stop.

"Stop, stop... hey, stop!" you can hear the trooper shouting as the car starts to drive off. And when it stops, he shouts, "Get out of the car!"

This happened just after midnight, nearly 20 months ago. State police just gave us the video this year.

"Do not move," the trooper commands the subject.

"I won't," he replies.

"Why are you pulling off?"

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm behind you trying to talk to you and you pull off from me," the trooper says. "Why are you sitting in the middle of the road?"

A moment later, the trooper asks the man, "Where are you going?"

"I'm going home," the man says.

"Why were you stopped in the middle of the road with no lights on? Now I come up to talk to you to find out what's going on, and you pull off, as I'm telling you to stop and I'm screaming at you. Then you pull in here and keep going. Then I tell you to keep your hands up and get out of the car, and you're going to reach into a spot that I can't see into the car."

And then, this exchange:

"How much you had to drink tonight?" asks the trooper.

The subject's response: "Nothing."

"Nothing at all? What's that odor of alcoholic beverage coming from your breath that I smell? That's nothing?"

"No I was at a function."

The man in the car is Jeff Perilloux. At the time, he worked for St. John Parish government. The state trooper quickly found out his job title, and the power he tried to use.

"You have a St. John officer here," Perilloux tells the trooper, referencing a deputy who had arrived at the scene. "Can you just tell him to perhaps get me home?"

"He didn't stop you, sir, I did."

"I know sir, but sir, you don't know who I am. Do you know who I am? I'm the parish attorney."

Then Perilloux says, "You are going to embarrass me, the parish attorney. That's fine."

At that point, the trooper says, "Turn around, sir. Turn around."

"He, do what you gotta do. Thank you dir, that's great."

"Turn around, put your hands behind your back."

Perilloux worked for District Attorney Tom Daley, serving as the parish attorney for St. John -- the top legal adviser for the parish government.

"Do you know who I am?" Perilloux asks.

The trooper responds, "No sir."

"Sir, I am an assistant district attorney."

"Right now, you're under arrest. You have the right to remain silent."

A moment later, Perilloux says, "You are degrading me right now [expletive], I am an assistant district attorney. You are degrading me… horrible."

"Okay, come walk back here," the trooper says as he escorts Perilloux to the back seat of his State Police vehicle.

When they got in the trooper's car, Perilloux turned even more confrontational.

"Who has the [expletive] parish attorney and ruins him…," he says. "Do you understand that? Do you think I'm going to sit back and take that? Very next thing I do is come to your boss. But I know you don't care."

The trooper starts, "Mr. Perilloux…"

"No, sweetheart…"

"Mr. Perilloux, listen to me, okay? You need to… you need to mind what you say and ensure that you don't make any threats."

Perilloux says, "Congratulations! You've taken the parish attorney and made him a [inaudible]."

Then Perilloux tells the trooper, "You could have said you know what, Jeff, can I follow you home? I'm a State Trooper; I'm going to follow you home. But you didn't. You decided to be an [expletive]. That's your choice, not mine. And that's okay with me. I am the parish attorney, I'm not some lowlife."

The trooper brought Perilloux into the St. John Parish Jail. According to a police report, Perilloux continued to be "belligerent." We were able to get some video from inside the jail, but no audio -- the only account is the police report.

The report says Perilloux came in "with slurred speech and a strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage... repeated countless times that he has been the parish attorney for ten years and is an ADA for St. John." The officer wrote, "Perilloux repeatedly yelled '[expletive] you' and made obscene gestures." He then told them to "go [expletive] Tom Daley," the St. John district attorney. And officers wrote that he said "I will destroy you… when he is DA in two years, he will remember what we did to him."

Perilloux refused to submit to a breath test. When the officer told him the "refusal would cause his driver's license to be suspended for one year," again Perilloux responded, "[Expletive] you."

First he starts asking for favors," notes Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche, "then when the officer does his duty, he resorts to foul language, and then threatens him, to have his job and destroy him. That is crossing the line.

The Metropolitan Crime Commission filed a complaint with the State Bar Association, asking them to review the tape and the police report.

The Attorney General 's Office handled this case and rejected the public intimidation charge.

"I think, unequivocally, you've seen that public official attempt to use his position to intimidate and suggest that law enforcement not perform their sworn duty," says Goyeneche.

The DWI charge against Perilloux has been expunged – erased. That's not necessarily uncommon for a first-time offender.

Perilloux still works for St. John Parish government. He resigned from the DA's office two months after this arrest. But soon after, the Parish Council hired him as its attorney. He makes $125 an hour.

"The fact that he's still employed in parish government…. He ought to consider himself fortunate," says Goyeneche.

And, the MCC head says, fortunate on this September night that authorities didn't pursue charges that Perilloux tried to use his job -- his status in the community -- to get out of driving drunk.

Perilloux said he would be unavailable for an interview, but he did send us a statement:

"I sincerely regret the mistakes that I made which led to my arrest and prosecution. Although I am deeply embarrassed by this incident, I have spent the better part of the time since, actively pursuing curative efforts to deal with my alcohol issue. I have been sober since the night of my arrest. I accepted responsibility for my actions and have taken the necessary steps, legally, professionally and personally, to move forward in my life in a positive manner."