NEW IBERIA — More than 200 people marched through city streets on Saturday, calling for justice for a local man who died while in police custody and for an end to all police brutality.
People gathered at Boulighy Plaza for the march to focus public attention on the death of Victor White III, the 22-year-old who died in 2014 of a gunshot wound while handcuffed in the back of a police car. Authorities have said he shot himself.
“This is not just a black issue; it’s a people issue,” said N’Kyia Moten, 22, a law student at Southern University who marched in the March to End Police Brutality. “It’s about the people that are supposed to serve and protect us.”
With his family by his side, the Rev. Victor White Sr. stood at the podium and said despite all the times he has spoken about his son, it has not gotten easier, only harder to speak of the tragedy.
“Nineteen months later, and I still have no answers as to why my son was killed,” said White. “Nineteen months later, we don’t have a report as to what happened to my son… I am still unable to grieve the death of my son.”
As he walked at the front of the crowd alongside his family, White held aloft a sign that said, “Iberia Parish Sheriff Department murdered my son.”
Cory Levier, a moderator for the rally, told those who gathered for the march that it was important to demand answers to what happened to White’s son.
“Ask yourselves, what if it was my child?” Levier said. “It is time now, to stand for your children so that something like this does not happen to your child and if it does, you will have answers.”
Precious White, the younger sister of Victor White, said discrimination against the black community needs to stop.
“Why can’t people stop assuming that because my skin is darker than their’s that I pose a threat to them?” she said. “Why can’t people stop jumping to the conclusion that I am illiterate because of my skin color even though I can read at a college level? … If people can do all these things, maybe my brother would not have been killed.”
The March to End Police Brutality was part of the Justice for Victor White Week of Action that was held this week.