Only two of the seven protesters arrested during a scuffle Wednesday outside Baton Rouge police headquarters live in Louisiana. The other five are from Georgia and Texas, according to arrest reports released Thursday.
The group was arrested after some two dozen protesters, most of them members of the New Black Panther Party, marched on police headquarters to protest the shooting death of Alton Sterling, who was killed during a struggle with two Baton Rouge police officers a year ago. The seven were released on bail Thursday, according to booking records.
Officers met the group at a driveway on police headquarter's property where removable barricades had already been opened to allow for traffic. Officers gave them a final warning to back up. Police used stun guns and pepper spray on those who didn't comply.
One of the arrest reports states that officers gave “several loud verbal commands to disperse and vacate … due to them causing a disturbance” before the arrests.
Krystal Sonia, one of the women arrested and the national chairwoman of the New Black Panther Party, said in a news release that the group was trying to file a report at the headquarters and “exercise our First Amendment rights as a concerned community and a concerned people who seek justice and legal action upon officers Salamoni and Lake II.”
Sterling was killed July 5, 2016, after Baton Rouge police officer Blane Salamoni shot him six times outside the Triple S Food Mart on North Foster Drive. Salamoni and officer Howie Lake II had responded to reports of a man threatening another person with a gun. The officers have said Sterling was reaching for a gun in his pocket when Salamoni fired.
Police spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely said Wednesday the seven would be booked into Parish Prison on misdemeanor counts of entering and remaining after being forbidden and resisting an officer. Booking records show, however, that four of the protesters were also booked on additional counts.
Adam Fraser, 35, Latroy Franklin, 24, and Donald Williams, 42, were also booked on battery of a police officer. Williams, in addition was booked on aggravated battery.
Police said Williams deployed a stun gun that hit an officer in the chest and arm, leading to “muscle dysfunction” that caused him to fall back, according his arrest report.
Officers also said Fraser "lunged at them with clenched fists," and he attempted to break free by "pulling and swinging his arms wildly," according to his arrest report.
Sonia, 45, was also booked on public intimidation and retaliation. According to Sonia’s arrest report, an officer deployed a stun gun on her before taking her to the ground.
Police said while Sonia was being processed, she said, “I hope you like your pension and your job because I’m gonna take it,” according to her arrest report.
This is Sonia’s third arrest during protests in Baton Rouge. She was booked on obstruction of a highway July 9 and for aggravated obstruction of a highway, failure to disperse, resisting an officer and illegal carrying of a weapon on May 2.
Baton Rouge Union of Police President Sgt. C. Bryan Taylor issued a statement Thursday night to reiterate his support for law enforcement and the residents of Baton Rouge.
"In this time of incendiary rhetoric we stand united in our commitment to keeping this city safe," Taylor said. "We hope everyone in leadership will join with us in calling for civility. The right to peacefully protest is a freedom every American citizen enjoys. However, we would hope that all who partake in this privilege would do so responsibly."
At a New Black Panther Party press conference Thursday evening at the state Department of Justice building steps, National Chief of Staff Katib Siddiq said they were seeking to file a complaint about what they consider passivity in the handling of the Alton Sterling case.
One local activist, The Resistance Executive Director Redell Norman, stood with the group Thursday and said he, too, was hit by a Tippman PepperBall shot that an officer fired during the altercation on Wednesday.
Siddiq, National Spokesman Malik Maumau and Sonia made additional allegations, including that Williams did not have a stun gun and that police photoshopped an image of him holding what appeared to be a stun gun. Sonia and Fraser both wore bandages on their arms at the press conference, claiming they and others suffered injuries during their arrests.
The only two arrested from Louisiana were Rosalyn Scott, 53, 5704 S. Sunset Hill Ave., Baton Rouge, and Michael Stanfield, 47, 1709 Booker T. Washington, Shreveport.
Two others arrested are from Texas: Sonia, 7125 Reed Road, Houston, and Williams, 2000 Lamar Drive, Richmond.
Three others are from Georgia: Denise Gillyard, 48, 1195 Stoneybrook Road, Forest Park; Fraser, 3592 Quillback Court, Atlanta; and Franklin, 2757 Peggy Sue Lane, Morrow.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the the New Black Panther Party as a “virulently racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers.”
The law center also notes that members of the original Black Panther Party, which has no connection to the NBPP, have criticized the New Black Panther Party, which is also known as the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense.
While the arrested New Black Panther Party members were waiting to bond out of jail on Wednesday night, a bigger gathering took place at the Triple S without them. Sterling’s aunts Veda Washington Abusaleh and Sandra Sterling stood up under a mural of their nephew and new lighted signs that said 'Justice for Alton' to tell the 70 or so people assembled about what they feel is a lack of justice
“It’s been 365 days and the Sterling family still has no justice. So I say ‘no justice, no peace,’" said Abusaleh, referring to the now popular call-and-response chant. “I’m not going to say ‘no justice, no peace’ anymore. I say ‘I demand justice,’ you say ‘I demand justice.’”
Sandra Sterling said the family should have more answers by now.
“This should have been over with. Philando (Castile), over with, Michael Brown, over with, Trayvon Martin, over with,” Sterling said. “Why is it taking so long for this Alton Sterling thing to be over with?”