A cast member on the popular television series “Swamp People” recently found himself on the wrong end of the law in St. Tammany Parish. It wasn’t a first for Nicholas L. Payne, 26, who appears on the History Channel’s reality show chronicling various Louisiana alligator harvesters alongside Bruce Mitchell, who wears his denim overalls bare-chested and a bandanna on his head.
The parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday that Payne allegedly hit a Sheriff’s Office deputy and tried to run away while being cited for creating a disturbance at a home in Pearl River. He was jailed the early morning of Sept. 23 with disturbing the peace, battery of a police officer, resisting an officer and being a fugitive from another state.
Just after midnight that day, the Sheriff’s Office was asked to investigate a complaint at a residence on Dolph Gaines Road, according to the agency. When the responding deputy arrived, Payne and a woman who said she is his wife explained that he was being loud because he had been locked out of the place and wanted to get the attention of somebody inside.
They apologized, spokesman Capt. George Bonnett said, and they assured the deputy they would go inside and sleep for the night. However, after an hour passed, a neighbor phoned in another complaint about Payne and the woman. Bonnett said the 5-foot, 5-inch, 150-pound Payne was going to be given a summons, but he hit the deputy about to issue it to him in the chest and scampered off to woods nearby.
More deputies then descended on the area, and one of them caught up with Payne, arrested him and brought him out. Booking Payne into jail in Covington, the Sheriff’s Office discovered he had an outstanding fugitive arrest warrant from Okaloosa County, Fla.
Police there in June locked up Payne on accusations that he possessed or used drug paraphernalia, records show. He posted $500 bond for his release, but he failed to appear in court on the day he was supposed to enter a plea.
State court in St. Tammany Parish set Payne’s bond at $10,000 on the three counts stemming from the alleged incident at his home. He is being held without bond on the matter from Florida, though, Bonnett said.
Payne has had trouble with authorities a few times before. Notably, in 2010, he pleaded guilty in St. Tammany to simple battery and resisting an officer, and was sentenced to one year of probation, records show.
He pleaded the same in an unrelated simple battery case six years earlier, and was sentenced to perform five days of community service.
Recaps of “Swamp People” indicate Mitchell hired Payne during the sixth episode of the second season, which aired May 5. Payne is “a local kid who wants to learn the craft (of gator hunting) from a master,” the History Channel’s website says.
Later, he helps Mitchell pursue a gator nicknamed Lucifer in an area dubbed The Devil’s Swamp.