There is a heightened awareness among law enforcement for potential protests once the U.S. Justice Department announces its results of its investigation into the shooting of Alton Sterling. The 37-year-old black man was fatally shot in July after a scuffle with two white Baton Rouge police officers.
Police Chief Carl Dabadie says they are working on a plan to deal with protests as least aggressively as possible.
“Our stance is going to continue to be as long as you’re nonviolent, as long as you’re following the law, people will have the ability to protest and say what they want to say,” Dabadie said.
It’s still unclear when the Justice Department will finish its investigation or whether there will be any charges. There’s a feeling of unrest among the community as we await more information from the federal investigators. Chairman of the Youth and Young Adult Committee, Cleve Dunn Jr., says he’s doesn’t think DOJ has been transparent at all in this investigation.
“One of the things that I would like to get released is the 911 call and the video from the store’s surveillance camera. That’s information that we’ve been waiting for quite some time,” Dunn said.
After Sterling was shot on July 5th, numerous protests erupted and over 200 people were arrested. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says they want to work with protesters, not against them, but if it gets out of hand, they will react. He says police will do everything they can to help people protest safely.
“Do they want to walk to the Capitol? Do they want to walk to a specific location? Tell us, we’ll help you get there. We’ll block traffic. We’ll get them through there. We’ll walk with them to make sure their voices are heard,” Edmonson said.