Louisiana congressional candidate arrested after qualifying to run for office

Published 9:00 am Saturday, July 21, 2018

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A candidate who had just registered to run for one of Louisiana’s congressional seats was arrested Friday on an outstanding warrant after signing up for the race.

Billy Burkette, an independent from Pride, qualified for the 5th District congressional race representing northeast Louisiana.

Shortly after Burkette filed his paperwork at the secretary of state’s office, East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies held him onsite, arresting him and removing him in handcuffs.

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Burkette is accused of falsely impersonating a police officer, said Meg Casper Sunstrom, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office.

“They say I’m not chief of police for the Louisiana Band of Choctaw Indians,” Burkette said as he was led out of the building in handcuffs. “I am.”

Sunstrom said one of the office’s election compliance workers heard Burkette’s name “and it rang a bell that he had been told by the state police that they were looking for this guy.” State police were notified and asked the sheriff’s deputies on site at qualifying to take Burkette into custody, Sunstrom said.

Burkette, who said he’s the chairman of the Louisiana Band of Choctaw Indians, is one of three candidates challenging Republican incumbent Ralph Abraham for the congressional seat. Burkette ran unsuccessfully for the office two years ago. He’s reported no fundraising for the Nov. 6 election.