Oct 4, 2011 11:16 PM by Maddie Garrett

Sheriff Answers Concerns About "Near Riot" Incident

Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal went before the city council Tuesday night to answer questions about a "near riot" situation that took place more than a week ago after the Sugar Cane Festival.

It was the fourth annual Family Fun Fest held near Hopkins and Lombard Streets, where Shannon James said a band was playing outside of his store just before 5:00 pm that Sunday.

"About 20 minutes after the concert started, sirens came down the street," said James.

While the Festival had a permit to go until six, residents told KATC sheriff's cars lined the street for almost an hour before it ended. Residents described noise as almost unbearable.

"Rhere was over 30 police cars, and I gave my honest opinion, I thought it was torture and you just don't torture people, you've got kids, you've got people that live along that highway," said New Iberia resident Benjamin Meyers.

New Iberia Council members also expressed their concerns about the use of the sirens to Sheriff Ackal Tuesday night.

"it's a valid complaint and I'll address it," said Ackal. "But it's something I will not condone, we're not going to have it. It's unnecessary and uncalled for."

While Ackal said the sirens might have been uncalled for, he said later that night a crowd returned to Hopkins and Lombard blocking the street. So deputies asked them to leave.

"It's over, it's been over since six o'clock, this is a public highway it has to be opened up, please leave," said Ackal of the incident.

It was then that a pepper spray like chemical called "Clear Away" was used to disperse the crowd.

"And when cursing, bottles and bullets started flying it's time for it to end. I will maintain peace, not going to have a riotous situation," he explained.

Since the incident, two arrests have been made.



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