Lawrence Mitchell trespassing

Lawrence "Nanny" Mitchell can be seen standing at the drive-through utility payment window of St. Martinville City Hall, rapping his fist against the payment drawer as he berated billing clerks over a $9 increase in water and wastewater charges on his utility bill. He was later cited for trespassing.

ST. MARTINVILLE — A tirade at the drive-through utility payment window at St. Martinville City Hall has earned Lawrence “Nanny” Mitchell, the husband of Mayor Melinda Mitchell, his latest citation from local police — this one for trespassing.

The summons was issued to Mitchell Sunday, five days after he berated a billing supervisor and told her she needed to “fix” what he said was an overcharge on his utility bill.

According to Billing Supervisor Carolyn Murdock, Mitchell came to City Hall on Monday and Tuesday of last week to contest his water and wastewater charges, which he said were too high.

“The water charge went up $4 from the previous bill,” Murdock said. “The wastewater charge went up $5. So this was all over $9 on his bill.”

Murdock said she checked the billing and the readings, but the amount charged was correct.

“He kept pointing his finger at me through the window and saying, ‘You’re going to fix this,’” Murdock said. “He didn’t scare me. He p***ed me off.”

A public record request for video from surveillance cameras at City Hall showed Mitchell first coming to the utility drive-through Monday afternoon shortly after 1 p.m. He remained in his truck, then left.

He returned at 10 a.m. Tuesday. On his second visit, he got out of the truck and stood at the drive through window. After he became agitated, rapping his fist against the payment drawer and poking at Murdock through the window, she called the police department. Mayor Mitchell can be seen entering the utility billing office, going to the window and talking to Mitchell, at which point he got back in his truck and drove off.

“Me and Sheila (Choplin, another utility worker) both looked at his billing record, and it was correct,” she said.

When asked about the incident, Mayor Mitchell just shook her head.

“I don’t even want to comment on that,” she said after Monday night’s city council meeting.

Although the drive-through is a public space, the city council passed a resolution last year banning Mr. Mitchell from city property except during family events. That ban was put in place after he violated a court order Mayor Pro Tem Craig Prosper sought against him.

Prosper was granted the order after Mitchell threatened to kill him during an angry December 2018 phone call in the presence of St. Martinville Police Chief Ricky Martin.

That order expired in January of this year. 

Mitchell was asked to leave the first city council meeting he attended in February, after the order expired. At that time he was told that the court order may have expired, but the council’s resolution banning him from city property was still in place.

Mitchell threatened to “sue all of y’all” as he was leaving the February meeting on his own.

Previously, Mitchell had been arrested several times during 2019 for violations of the court’s stay-away order. 

He was also issued a citation in May after he was recorded cursing at police officers after a neighbor reported him for burning furniture in his yard. In addition to using profanity and initially refusing to let firefighters on the property to make sure the fire was out, Mitchell tried to intimidate the officer with his wife’s position, reminding him that “she’s your boss.”

 

Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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