BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — Louisiana lawmakers Tuesday got a taste of what a 25-member task force on policing will discuss over the coming months.
The group — which includes state legislators, law enforcement leaders, civil rights advocates and attorneys — will examine police practices, citing concerns of implicit racism and the disproportionate number of Black citizens killed by officers.
A total of 160 people have been killed by police in Louisiana since 2013, according to the state’s ACLU chapter. Of them, 53 percent were Black, though Black residents comprise about a third of the state’s population.
“How do we render ourselves, render the public, more accepting of the idea that change is needed?” asked Raymond T. Diamond, a professor at the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center and a task force member.
Addressing the answer, other members replied, may be uncomfortable for some.
“It’s going to be very difficult, and it’s going to feel very uncomfortable,” said Judy Reese Morse, president of the Urban League of Louisiana. “We should all just accept that as our starting point.
“At the end of the day, what I hope for is that we come out of this with some meaningful legislation,” Rep. Edmond Jordan (D-Baton Rouge) said.
The task force — formed after a police altercation that left George Floyd, a Black man, dead in May — will discuss police hiring, training, communication and community relation practices over the next few months.
Members must submit any recommendations to the Legislature by Feb. 1.