ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) – A sergeant with the Opelousas Police Department was arrested while off-duty yesterday after allegedly arguing and defying the commands of St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputies.
Two other people including the officer’s wife were arrested in the incident that happened outside of a local bar.
Major Eddie Thibodeaux said deputies responded to the bar where Paul Cortez, Jr.’s son had gotten into a fight with a patron.
Cortez, Jr. arrived and allegedly told deputies he was going to open the car where his son was being detained and release him.
Thibodeaux issued a news release saying:
“Deputies advised Paul Cortez Jr. that his son was fine and would soon be released after paperwork is completed.
Paul Cortez Jr. became agitated and began to argue with the deputies. Paul Cortez Jr. then approached the patrol unit as to open it and was told several times leave the unit.
Paul Cortez Jr. then grabbed onto the window safety bars on the unit and would not release them. Deputies then attempted to detain Paul Cortez Jr. when he began to resist. While attempting to place Paul Cortez Jr. under arrest, Cortez Jr. dropped to his knees and grabbed the deputy pulling him down to the ground.
Deputies were attempting to handcuff Cortez Jr. when Logan Beard grabbed a deputy in attempt take them off of Cortez Jr. Beard became combative swinging his fist towards one of the deputies.
While deputies were attempting to gain control of Beard, Denise Cortez, wife of off duty officer, Paul Cortez arrived and she began interfering with the arrest of Beard and Cortez Jr. by pushing and shoving the deputies.
While placing Beard into custody, Cortez Jr. continued to resist
arrest. Denise Cortez then moved into a position behind one of the deputies and shoved him in the back again. Deputies were able to gain control of both Cortez and Beard and all three were placed under arrest.
An ambulance had been called to check out Paul Cortez III but was cancelled by his father Paul Cortez Jr.
Deputies requested the ambulance to return to the scene to check on the status of Cortez III who was transported to a local hospital for his injuries from the fight.
Paul Cortez III and Nicholas Launey were issued a misdemeanor summons for fighting and Paul Cortez Jr, Denise Cortez, and Logan Burton Beard were transported to the St. Landry Parish Jail for processing.
Paul Cortez Jr. is a sergeant with the Opelousas Police Department.
Sheriff Guidroz stated, “ One of the worst things I hate to see and hear about is the actual arrest of a fellow police officer. I thank my deputies for the professional actions they took during this entire incident.
Dealing with a combative and aggressive citizen is one thing but when it involves a fellow police officer tensions run at a higher level. Sad to say, but no one is above the law, not even police officers.
There were other options Officer Cortez could have taken, but he chose to interfere and become combative toward deputies just trying to do their job, Guidroz added.”
Paul Cortez Jr. has been released a $1,500 bond. Denise Cortez has been released on a $2,500 bond.
Logan Beard has been released on a $3,250.