A group of black leaders is calling for a limited boycott of the malls in Baton Rouge, as well as Wal-Mart stores, in hopes of compelling business leaders to lean on authorities to arrest the two officers implicated in the shooting death of Alton Sterling.
Calling for the boycott are leaders of the local NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Nation of Islam. The boycott is set to end midnight Sunday.
They had planned to hold an 11 a.m. Friday news conference at the Mall of Louisiana, but the venue changed after mall officials warned that organizers would be arrested if they came on the premises, they claimed.
They relocated to the Triple S Food Mart on North Foster Drive, where Sterling was shot and which has been the scene of protests, memorials and news conferences all week.
“The reason we chose the two malls and Wal-Mart is because that is where most of our people shop,” said the Rev. Reginald Pitcher, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference president for Louisiana. “So if we withdraw our financial support there, the people downtown will feel the pain we’re feeling here.”
Pitcher said they hope is the economic pressure will compel the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, which “runs City Hall,” to lean on political leaders to force the quick arrest of the two officers.
Adam Knapp, the chamber’s president and CEO, released a statement saying he supports federal intervention into the ongoing investigation.
“If the goal is to bring about justice, we echo the governor’s sentiments at last night’s vigil about the need for patience with the process,” Knapp said Friday. “We also share the faith community’s urgent call for unity that brings our community together.”