Multiple agencies issue statements in support of BRPD Chief, BR Mayor
BATON ROUGE - At least ten organizations and prominent individuals with ties to Louisiana's Capital City issued statements Tuesday (July 21) morning, detailing their support of Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul and East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.
The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives distributed a statement via email, saying, "Like Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, we have a great amount of confidence in Chief Paul’s work and decision-making. NOBLE recognizes the value he has brought to the Baton Rouge City Police Department."
A similar statement was issued by a collection of organizations and individuals including, The Butterfly Society, The NAACP, C.H.A.N.G.E., The Bridge Agency, Inc., A.G.I.L.E. Planning Solutions, Inc, NBRNow Inc., and 911 Save Our Son.
Their statement said, in part: "We'd like to express explicit support for our Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul, and the Baton Rouge Police Department."
The statements are in response to two billboards that were set up by the Baton Rouge Union of Police last Wednesday. The signs highlight the city's crime rate, and say, "WARNING: Enter at your own risk."
One of the billboards displays the number of homicides that occurred in Baton Rouge during the first six months of 2020 along with a quote from Baton Rouge Police Chief Paul expressing concern about the murder rate.
Shortly after the signs were erected, Mayor Broome released a statement regarding the billboards, calling the union's decision to pay for them "unfortunate." She also said the union "could have donated the money spent on these billboards to anti-violence programs.
On Tuesday, the Butterfly Society and its partners echoed the mayor's concerns in their statement, saying: "If the Baton Rouge Union of Police truly wanted to help make Baton Rouge a better place to live, they would’ve invested and partnered in anti-violence interventions. Instead, Baton Rouge Union of Police invested in billboards that only further add misguided stigma to our City, while not considering how such an insipid display affects local business owners and hardworking community members."
The statement went on to describe attempts to reduce crime in the capital city, touting these as steps in the right direction.
"Those who can genuinely call Baton Rouge home, have worked feverishly to solve our communities' ills. While improvements are still needed, we've experienced a downward trajectory of violent crime over the past years. Make no mistake the increase in violence is a challenge across our country, and Baton Rouge is no different.
Violent crime is down 11% from 2017 to 2019, partly due to the efforts of so many who seek a positive change in Baton Rouge. Your Billboards spit on our efforts and disrespect the very citizens you serve.
The collective concluded their message with a call to action directed at the Baton Rouge Union of Police. The statement ended with the following words: "Baton Rouge Union of Police, we petition that you stop divisive advertising actions and unite with us to serve our community, rather than continuing to divide it."
A coalition of concerned clergy called "Prophetic Voices" also issued a memorandum in support of Mayor Broome and Chief Paul Tuesday.
The statement said, in part, "The listed members of Prophetic Voices offer our support of Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and Police Chief Murphy Paul, in light of the cowardly and mischaracterizing attacks made against them and our city by the corrupt Baton Rouge Police Union."
The Baton Rouge Police Union responded to the mayor's statement by way of its Facebook page last Friday. The Union's full response is below:
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