In a video more action movie scene than promotional project, Louisiana cops and business leaders are throwing down the gauntlet to a marauding gang called the Gremlins.Rocking an assault rifle and ringed by a posse of equally heavily armed fellow officers, with some even standing on a roof in the background, Capt. Clay Higgins tells the Gremlins, and the world, that Louisiana’s Acadiana region has had enough.
“The Gremlin street gang is all bad,” Higgins drawls as the camera cuts to images of arrested gang members, and he names those still on the loose. “The Gremlins street gang is responsible for hundreds of violent crimes. Murders, armed robberies, witness intimidation, burglaries, drug trafficking, extortion, and brutal beatings. We’ve arrested 10 of these thugs and have warrants on seven more. Every one of these animals is most definitely armed and dangerous.”
According to local ABC affiliate KATC, the video employs one of the gang’s own propaganda techniques—posting music videos rapping about their sins—against it.
Though area law enforcement has been investigating the Gremlins for over a year, cops have had issues rounding them up, in large part because of a lack of cooperation from witnesses.
“I encourage any citizen watching this to look into your own heart and find the American courage that conquers all evil,” Higgins implores. “Listen to this message and stand up. Take back your streets. Take back your country. Come forward with information about these heathens who’ve terrorized your community.”
At one point he name-checks an alleged felon directly.
“Darren Carter, you think men like these are afraid of an uneducated 125-pound punk like you that’s never won a fair fight in your life and holds your gun sideways? Young man, I’ll meet you on solid ground anytime, anywhere, light or heavy. Makes no difference to me. You won’t walk away. Look at you. Men like us, son, we do dumbbell presses with weights bigger than you.”
Higgins also makes it clear that any threat to his fellow officers would be met directly.
“If you raise your weapon to a man like me, we’ll return fire with superior fire.”
Relations between citizens and cops in the region have been rocky—just last year state troopers were arrested for planting drugs on a suspect.
So Higgins covers his bases. In a particularly media-savvy move, the captain makes sure his message isn’t construed as being tainted by the racism accusations that have been levied against many law enforcement agencies.
“Take a close look behind me. Standing next to every cop is a leader of our black community. This is not about race. This about right versus wrong.”
This also isn’t Higgins’s first foray into such dramatic methodology. He hosts a weekly “Crime Stoppers” show for local news, and is known as Cajun country’s “John Wayne.” He’s a blunt, charismatic man who has such a commanding presence on the air that simply demanding alleged criminals give up and turn themselves in to “Uncle Clay” has been known to work. His segments have ranked up millions of social media views.
It’s a technique he’s hoping will work against the Gremlins, a scourge on his community he calls “extremely violent.” With those seven felony warrants out for suspected gang members, Higgins hopes this show of confidence and inter-agency cooperation will inspire the same in the region’s civilians. Asking that those in his community share the video and spread the word, he ends with a clear, and very John Wayne, challenge:
“You don’t like the things I’ve told you? I’ve got one thing to say. I’m easy to find…We’re Americans. We’d rather die on our feet than live on our knees.”