LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Even with a court hearing scheduled today, Matthew Humphrey said the four-year fight for LGBTQ2+ rights at the public library has caused him to feel afraid to attend court alone.
Matthew Humphrey, an LGBTQ2+ activist, said, “I don’t trust these people. I live in fear of my elected leaders and the people they put in power at the library.”
Humphrey said his issues with community leaders extends back to 2018 when he organized “Drag queen story time” at the Lafayette library.
The program led to protests and even a lawsuit that Humphrey ultimately won.
The push for LGBTQ2+ rights at the library would continue into 2022 when Humphrey and several others would attend the library board meeting to speak against the banning of LGBTQ2+ books.
As attendees spoke out of turn in the meeting, Humphrey was arrested.
“The actual charge was disturbing the peace through disruption of a lawful public assembly,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey would dispute the charges, saying the sheriff’s office violated his constitutional rights.
An internal investigation from the sheriff’s office said the deputy did nothing wrong.
Humphrey said that was the last he heard about the situation until this year, when the district attorney decided to pursue the charges against Humphrey with a hearing scheduled to take place this morning.
Humphrey did not attend the hearing, saying he does not feel safe without an attorney present.
“The systems that govern the city of Lafayette have been shown to be untrustworthy to the LGBTQ+ community over the last four years,” Humphrey said. “The viewpoint discrimination from the Josh Guillory administration, or weaponization of law enforcement, or whether it’s the under-investigation District Attorney who waited a year to accept charges on a gay dude who said a single word out of turn at the library. It’s just not safe to go to court without an attorney, so I missed court today. I’m going to wait and get an attorney so that I make sure I’m protected.”
Humphrey said when the hearing is rescheduled, he hopes to pursue a not-guilty verdict then a counter claim against the city and bring justice to a “underserved minority community.”