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|Lawsuits expose gun complaint against Brown|
A pair of lawsuits filed Thursday challenging Harris Brown's eligibility in the Senate District 35 race brought to light a December 2010 incident in which Brown was accused of pointing a gun at a man and his two sons.
According to a report filed at the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office, the incident took place on Chauvin Lake on Dec. 19, 2010. Brown owns a home at 266 Cuba Farm Rd. That property is situated between the Ouachita River and Chauvin Lake.
Roy Maxey contacted the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office and said Brown detained him and his two sons at gunpoint while the family was hunting from a boat on Chauvin Lake. The lake serves as a tributary to the Ouachita River.
Maxey told the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office that a man standing on the bank of Chauvin Lake flagged him down, presented a gold badge and identified himself as Harris Brown. Maxey said Brown pointed a .30-30 rifle at him and his sons.
Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Deputy Steve Hepler filed the report on the incident.
According to Hepler's report, Brown said the badge was a "levee police badge." Brown is president of the Tensas Basin Levee District Board. He is not a levee district police officer.
"(Brown) stated he has no arrest powers, he only showed the badge to get the complainant's attention," Hepler wrote in his report.
Brown said he never pointed his gun at the Maxeys, according to Hepler's report.
Brown also told the Maxeys he owned the lake (Chauvin) and that the Maxeys were trespassing, Hepler's report said.
Hepler's report said Brown had dealt with theft on his Cuba Farm Road property. Brown also said he had dealt with damage to his property on Cuba Farm Road.
Helpler's report concluded, saying, "Brown was only protecting his property. No further action needed."
Earlier this week, Maxey sent a letter to 4th Judicial Assistant District Attorney Neal Johnson, outlining the incident on Chauvin Lake. Maxey's letter also questioned why Brown had not been arrested because "it is a felony to wrongfully pull a gun on us like Harris Brown did. It's also a crime to pretend to be a policeman…"
The Ouachita Citizen obtained a copy of Maxey's letter.
"We thought he was a police officer since he flashed his badge and pointed his gun at us," Maxey wrote in the Sept. 12 letter to Johnson.
"He told us to unload our guns and lay them down in the boat and we did that," Maxey's letter said.
Maxey's letter informed Johnson he began to doubt Brown was a police officer as the incident unfolded.
"When we got closer, I asked him who he was and he started cursing us and kicked the light off our boat," Maxey's letter said. "I knew then that he wasn't a law enforcement officer but did not want to argue with a man who was pointing a rifle at me and my boys."
In his letter to Johnson, Maxey defended his claims and said he and his sons were not trespassing on Brown's property because Chauvin Lake is a navigable stream and is not a private lake.
When contacted Friday, Brown told The Ouachita Citizen he stood by his actions.
"That man was clearly wrong," Brown said. "I certainly felt I was right to protect my property."
"I never pointed a gun at anyone," Brown added.
The lawsuits filed Thursday against Brown center on whether he has lived in Senate District 35 for the past 12 months.
Brown is scheduled to appear in 4th Judicial District Court Monday to show why he should not be disqualified as a candidate in the District 35 race.
Brown, R-Monroe, qualified last week to oppose Sen. Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe. Monroe attorney Jeff Guerriero is a candidate in the race, too. Guerriero is a Republican as well.
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell challenged Brown's eligibility to seek the District 35 seat in a lawsuit filed in District Court Thursday. Kostelka filed a second lawsuit later Thursday afternoon challenging Brown's eligibility to run for the office.
Both lawsuits allege Brown does not meet the required residency standards to run for the District 35 seat. According to the lawsuits, Brown lived outside the district until May of this year.
State law requires that Brown must have lived in District 35 for a minimum of one year prior to qualifying to be eligible to participate as a candidate in the race.