OPELOUSAS — Tyrone Glover says the protest he’s organized against police brutality on Thursday will be distinctly different from the kind often depicted in the media.
“There will be no barricades,” the District B Alderman-elect from Opelousas said. “Law enforcement will be in the crowd with us. We will be standing together in unity and dignity.”
Glover has called for a public demonstration at 5 p.m. Thursday outside the St. Landry Parish courthouse in response to the national conversation denouncing police use-of-force and racial profiling, especially following the high-profile deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police.
“I came out for a cause of peace, because there was about to be some destruction,” said Glover, who also manages Opelousas community radio station KOCZ. “A lot of people were angry. A lot.”
Waves of protests have been organized nationwide following two grand-jury decisions against indicting the two police officers involved in Brown’s and Garner’s deaths.
Organizers on Saturday marched in downtown Lafayette to protest the same, along with the death of Victor White III, the New Iberia man who died from a gunshot wound while handcuffed in the backseat of a deputy’s car.
“Even though we’re doing this in conjunction with law enforcement, we’re still putting them on notice,” Glover said. “Enough is enough.”
Although “all elected officials are invited” to the event, Glover said, two of St. Landry Parish law enforcement’s leaders already have made plans to attend.
“I’m gonna be there in support of justice,” said Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, who will speak at the event. “We want to make sure that justice is served on both sides: from the police standpoint and from people that are encountering law enforcement.”
Guidroz said he disagrees with the police actions that led to Garner’s July 17 death on Staten Island, New York. Garner, who police said was selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, died an hour after a New York Police Department officer restrained him in a chokehold. A bystander’s video of the incident has been circulating in the media since.
“Is that all (NYPD) officers have to do is wrestle with a man who’s selling loose cigarettes?” Guidroz questioned. “If you’re gonna live that lifestyle and fight the police, then we’ll do what we have to do to defend ourselves and defend justice. But we’re certainly not gonna treat people like animals.”
Police Chief-elect Donald Thompson also has said he will attend, Glover said. Thompson was not available Tuesday afternoon for comment on whether he plans to attend.
Glover said he plans to attend another rally planned this weekend in Lafayette.
Protesters with the “Lives Matter Rally” will gather at 2 p.m. Saturday near Target on Ambassador Caffery Parkway and march toward the Acadiana Mall, said organizer Denise Gobert, a 27-year-old music teacher from Lafayette.
“It’s not just an issue that happens up north or in some big city. It’s happening here,” Gobert said. “The status quo is not OK, and we need to change things.”
The rally coincides with the final holiday shopping weekend of the year in one of Lafayette’s busiest retail hubs.
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