La. NAACP calls for government reforms, police residency requirements
BATON ROUGE - The NAACP has released a list of recommendations for U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in order to address police relations with the Baton Rouge community.
The recommendations come after recent officer-involved gun violence caused a rift among residents, sparking protests and a shooting that left three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers dead and another three injured.
The NAACP is calling for the creation of the Southern University Law Center Clinical Education Reentry Program. The Department of Justice would provide funding for the program, which would allow law students to provide legal services to the community while under the direction of a licensed attorney.
The second recommendation calls for the establishment of residency requirements for officers along with the creation of an interactive training program. The residency requirements would designate primary officers to patrol certain neighborhoods. A three-month training period each year at schools, community centers and churches would further immerse officers in the areas they serve.
Louisiana NAACP President Ernest Johnson also said that Baton Rouge's city-parish government is diluting the voting strength of African Americans within the Baton Rouge city limits.
Johnson argues that it is unfair that every other city within East Baton Rouge Parish is allowed to elect their own mayors and city councils, but the Baton Rouge Mayor/President is elected by all the voters in the parish.
"We need reform the City of Baton - Parish of East Baton Rouge Government," Johnson writes. "To give the citizens residing within the city limits of Baton Rouge a real voice in the operation of the government."
Johnson said the NAACP believes that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment is being violated. Johnson called for an investigation into the issue by the Department of Justice.