Together Baton Rouge called Wednesday for the release of all video recordings related to the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling and for a thorough state investigation into the incident.
The call came at a meeting of the organization shortly before the U.S. Department of Justice officially released and explained its decision to not bring charges against the two officers involved.
More than 100 community and faith leaders gathered to hear Rev. Lee Wesley and Rev. Nathan Ryan detail a list of five action steps, including the call for release of the videos and a state investigation.
Wesley, of Community Bible Baptist Church, said he is disappointed and frustrated by the decision of federal prosecutors not to charge the officers with civil rights violations. He also slammed how their decision leaked out before the family and local and state government officials were notified.
"It appears that no longer can local communities depend on our federal government to balance the scales of justice," Wesley said.
He said the leak denied the Sterling family members their day in court and a trial for a jury to determine the guilt or innocence of the officers.
To move forward, Wesley first called for all body camera and Triple S Food Mart surveillance footage to be released to the public before Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry takes over the investigation and he specifically asked Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome to both obtain and release them.
Broome responded at a later press conference with the governor, saying the case is in the hands of the state attorney general.
“As you well know the case in now in the hands or will be in the hands of the state attorney general and he is asking for assistance from the state police,” Broome said.
Governor Jon Bel Edwards echoed Broome, adding that for the same reasons that the Department of Justice didn't release the videos, he couldn't "imagine that any of this is going to come forward until the state attorney general has completed his investigation and made his decision one way or another."
In addition to the videos, Wesley called for the state to conduct a thorough criminal investigation. Landry said Wednesday that video and other materials gathered by federal authorities will be turned over to Louisiana State Police which will conduct the state's investigation.
Like other community leaders, Together Baton Rouge asked that people conduct peaceful protest and “resist participating in the narrative of fear.”
Community leaders at the Together Baton Rouge meeting also encouraged Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome to continue pursuing police reforms she promised during her campaign.
And they said they want to see criminal justice reform measures passed by the state legislature and a reinvestment of corporate tax giveaways into local projects.
Rev. Ryan borrowed a phrase used by one of the participants in a Together Baton Rouge meeting last summer, saying we need “peace, but not quiet.”
Ryan said Louisianans seeking justice turned in the past to the federal government for help, but that's changed.
“Because our federal government has washed its hands, it is up to us as a city and a state to find justice," Ryan said. "There’s no better city than Baton Rouge and no better state than Louisiana to be a model for what justice-making looks like to the entire country.”