BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Wednesday, nearly 100 people called for the Baton Rouge Police Department to be defunded.
The demonstration comes on the heels of a viral video where an officer is seen kneeling on a teen during an arrest.
A protester, Domonique Davis, said “after everybody watched that long video of what happened to George Floyd and just seeing that it’s like you don’t want that anymore.”
Standing along Airline highway, protesters said, the demonstration is not about where the officer kneeled but the action.
“Whether it was on his back or his neck, you don’t want it there anymore because you have seen what has happened coming from it” said Davis.
Davis was one of the many people who said, they saw all the videos BRPD posted to its Facebook page. She said, she understands both sides, but the country has a history of seeing simple traffic stops turn deadly.
“A seat belt violation, simply things like that led to deaths and I think we’re tired of seeing that” said Davis.
The protest was greeted by BRPD officers when the organizers tried to take the rally onto headquarters’ property. Protester, Steve Antoine said, that in the wake of the video the police department needs to evaluate its training.
“The kid is on his knees, with his hands in the air. Okay, you tell me you have four officers, the kid does not have any weapon or anything on him. He is down already, why not just gone ahead and cuff him but why you have to throw him on the ground, that’s what gets them in trouble they do too much” said Antoine.
Several protesters continued to chant while being handcuffed. There were nearly a dozen people taken into custody. Protesters say, no matter the manner, they will let their voices be heard.
“The goal is to bring more awareness and show that we are not standing for this. It is time for a change, and we don’t want to see the same thing happening and I think us coming together shows that we want things to change” said Davis.
Mayor Broome released this statement about the protests:
Our city is still healing from events that have forever impacted the strength of our community and police relations.
We must remain vigilant to ensure we repair and reform this necessary relationship.
I have always encouraged and upheld the right for citizens to peacefully protest.
Through working from a place of understanding, tonight’s situation at police headquarters was deescalated and dialogue to reinforce the desire for better community-police relationships occurred with Chief Murphy Paul.
The protesters that were detained, were released and personally walked out by Chief Paul without any summons or charges.