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Local group calls for evidence release in recent incidents

Posted at 1:10 PM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-07 15:40:15-04

On Labor Day, after calling for more evidence to be released in recent cases of alleged brutality, protesters set up barbecue pits outside the police department.

First, the groups gathered outside of the Lafayette Police Department to speak to the press, then they moved nearby and began barbecuing, which has come to be protesters' symbolic trademark in recent weeks.

Activist groups BBQ outside Lafayette Police Dept on Labor Day

At the press conference, the group addressed the shooting death of Trayford Pellerin on August 21 by Lafayette officers and an incident involving two black teens and officers in Lafayette on September 5.

State Police are investigating the shooting. In the second incident, the Lafayette Police Department has placed one officer on leave, and two others on modified duty, while an investigation is done into the "take down" of a teenage boy at a bowling alley this weekend. Read more on that incident here.

The lawyer for both families said that the group was at the Lafayette Police Department to demand answers.

They are calling on the interim chief to release any evidence related to Saturday's incident.

"We want the 9-1-1 call in which one of the boys allegedly fit the description of someone committing the crime. What was that description, what was he actually doing, was that call actually made? Those are the questions that the community has," said attorney Ronald Haley.

The group wants body cam footage to be released. They say they believe it would show what led up to a seemingly avoidable confrontation.

They say that they have obtained information that the incident was not isolated, and are demanding that the information be released by the Lafayette Police Department. Yesterday, we asked Lafayette Police about allegations that a group of officers has been harassing the teens and their family members for months, and a spokesman said those allegations are a "vital" part of the investigation into this weekend's incident.

On September 11, The Village group from Lafayette, The Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union, and state and local NAACP chapters will take part in a march in Baton Rouge. The group invited others to participate, in order to bring about change across the state.

Activist Tara Laxley, who was arrested after barbecuing outside the Mayor's house, urged people who are disturbed by these incidents to come together.

"We need to become united in our community, because your son or your daughter could be next. Let’s come together before your kid gets beaten, tazed or shot in the back 10 times," she said.

Activist Jamal Taylor said it's not about splitting the community apart.

"This is not an us versus them issue, it’s a right versus wrong issue," he said.

The group later set up their barbecue pit near the police department. They have said that they are barbecuing to symbolically invite police and city leaders to discuss their concerns. Laxley has said she set up her pit outside the mayor's house because he did not seem comfortable having a conversation in her neighborhood.

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