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Governor John Bel Edwards signs apology to two Southern students killed 50 years ago

1 week 4 days 8 hours ago Thursday, November 17 2022 Nov 17, 2022 November 17, 2022 5:19 AM November 17, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Governor John Bel Edwards signed an apology to Denver Smith and Leonard Brown who were shot and killed during a protest 50 years ago on the Southern University campus. 

Southern students were protesting for better funding for their school when the protest turned deadly and Smith and Brown were shot. 

"It's never too late to do the right thing. It certainly doesn't make up for it, but it is the best we can do as a state," Edwards said. 

Wednesday night, many gathered at the Old Capitol to remember what happened to Smith and Brown. 

All these years later, nobody knows who killed the two men. Christopher Drew is a professor at LSU and has been investigating the killing with his students. 

"A shot came from a group of deputies, but nobody could ever figure out who the deputy was that fired the shot," Drew said. 

In attendance was Denver Terrance, the nephew of Denver Smith. 

He says Wednesday was an emotional day for his family, and he is still trying to find out who killed his uncle. 

"Recognizing what happened, someone taking accountability is important," Terrance said. "It's still a lot of loose ends and there is still work that needs to be done to get justice for Denver Smith and our family."

The Governor says even with the apology, there is no way to replace the loss of Smith and Brown. 

Terrance says that his family is still appreciative of it. 

"There's no way to fully recover the damage that has been done," Terrance said. "But I think it would be a good gesture."

John Bel Edwards hopes this apology will be an opportunity for everyone to remember what happened, so it doesn't happen again. 

"This is trying to do what we can to remember what happened, to apologize for it, but most important to make sure we never go back to it, that this is a chapter in our past," Edwards said. 

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