Lafayette Parish NAACP President Marja Broussard is calling on Lafayette Consolidated Government, the City-Parish Council, and other legislators to work in collaboration with the NAACP, the Department of Justice, and the American Civil Liberties Union to address police reform and minority affairs.
The organizations are calling for officials to:
● End Qualified Immunity for police officers;
● Create a citizen law enforcement oversight committee;
● Establish substantive and meaningful police reform consisting of the 21st Century
Policing Blueprint and the 8 Can't Wait initiatives;
● Host weekly Lafayette Police Community Relations Committee meetings until a solid,
strategic plan is developed; and;
● Create a minority affairs task force.
President Broussard says, "There really is a sense of urgency for a complete overhaul of Louisiana laws and Lafayette Parish guidelines, ordinances, and procedures that govern law enforcement engagement with civilians, particularly those who are African-Americans, and I'm encouraged to see that Louisiana Legislature finally feels the same way. We need to do this locally too." The local NAACP unit has been working with organizations to raise awareness and provide solutions for many years. "We didn't really see a modern movement birthed until the police murder of George Floyd, and it really hit home with the recent shooting of Trayford Pellerin" says Broussard, who also sits on the Lafayette Police Community Relations Committee.
A march is being planned by community leaders for September 11; more information will be released on that soon.
More of the statement is below:
"It's a little late, but hopefully not too late. It's unfortunate that our Black citizens make up over 50% of citizens killed by the hands of police, even though we only make up about 30% of the state population." she says.
"A lot has to change and we have to be part of the solution. It's not just a law enforcement issue. It's also about what we are doing or demanding for our communities-- like we did for the closure of the four recreation centers a month ago."
The Lafayette Parish NAACP, local leaders and activists, and community members were successful in reversing the decision; however, will continue to fight to reinstate the 37 employees laid off. Also, according to the state police, African-Americans only make up about 23% of their applicants.
"We need to work better to encourage minorities to join the State Police. The education and healthcare landscape is very different on the Northside compared to the Southside. We need to insure that our marginalized communities have equal and/or equitable resources, community development, and infrastructure to encourage and foster healthier opportunities. It requires us as leaders to be more engaged in productive, unified, meaningful dialogue with our city, parish, and state officials," says President Broussard.
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