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BR mayor announces establishment of Commission on Racial Equity and Inclusion

4 weeks 23 hours 23 minutes ago Friday, June 12 2020 Jun 12, 2020 June 12, 2020 5:18 PM June 12, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Citizens across the nation are demanding that local government institutions, specifically law enforcement agencies, change the way they interact with members of the African American community.

On Friday morning, East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome touched on this topic during a press conference regarding recent concerns of police brutality and racial inequality. 

During the conference, Mayor Broome announced the signing of an Executive Order Friday to establish the Mayor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Inclusion (COREI). 

The commission will work to instill the practice of racial equity and inclusion throughout the city-parish government and Baton Rouge community.

Click here to see the full executive order

It will meet within 14 days of the order being issued and continue to meet bi-monthly. A report will be given to the mayor-president's office within 90 days of its first meeting.

“The only way for us to move forward as a community of peace, prosperity, and progress is to ground ourselves in racial equity, social justice, and social cohesion within the infrastructure of our government systems and our society,” said Mayor Broome. 

The COREI agenda serves as a roadmap for the private and public sectors to create opportunities for increased community engagement, apply training, framing, and other tools to continually improve outcomes related to race. The four major focus areas include:

-Community and Economic Development 

-Education, Health and Human Services 

-Arts, Culture & Community Based Nonprofits 

-Government Entities

The Executive Order will be effective on June 12, 2020, and will be in effect for one year.

Residents interested in participating in the Mayor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Inclusion are invited to apply at brla.gov/equitycommission.

The issues of police brutality and racial inequality remain of paramount concern on both a national and local level. 

In the past few months, the wrongful killings of at least two black civilians at the hands of law enforcement have triggered protests across the country. 

On March 13, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American emergency medical technician, was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers who entered her home without warning in search of two suspects who they didn't realize had already been arrested. 

Taylor's boyfriend, believing their home was being broken into, opened fire and police fired back multiple times, killing Taylor and injuring her boyfriend.

On May 26, 46-year-old George Floyd was killed by a Minnesota Police Officer who continued to press his knee against Floyd's neck, despite the 46-year-old's repeated pleas for his life, saying that he couldn't breathe. 

After video of Floyd's killing went viral, angry citizens participated in protests, carrying signs with pictures of both Floyd and Taylor, using the two victim's lives and unnecessary deaths as an illustration of the need to end police brutality against African Americans. 

On a local level, Broome was voted into office shortly after Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was shot to death by two officers with the Baton Rouge Police Department.

One of Broome's first moves as mayor was to pressure then police chief, Carl Dabadie to step down.

Once Dabadie's position was vacated, Mayor Broome replaced him with Police Chief Murphy Paul. Chief Paul then guided the department to adapt new policies related to use of force.

Policy changes included the banning of chokeholds, adding de-escalation training to avoid violence and stricter officer accountability.

Since then, Mayor Broome has been vocal about the need for continued reform. 

During a June 8 radio interview on "Talk Louisiana" with Jim Engster she said, "I'm going to be very transparent because now is not the time to hold back. Unfortunately as we try to make transformation within a system … many times the union is an obstruction to weeding out the bad cops. Every police officer isn't a bad cop and we know that. But there are some who shouldn't be in the police department."

The Mayor went on to explain that she does not plan to defund the Baton Rouge Police Department, saying, "I need to be explicitly clear. That is not my plan at this time. We need public safety. … My plan is to bring consistent reform to the police department and to make sure that we look at our dollars and cents."

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