Out-of-town reporters try to show Baton Rouge 'on edge'
BATON ROUGE – For the fourth time in less than a year, this usually unassuming city along the Mississippi has the attention of the nation.
National news outlets and media from New Orleans are zeroing in on the atmosphere here, as speculation continues on when the Justice Department will release its findings into the death of Alton Sterling at the hands of local police. Sterling was shot and killed by two Baton Rouge Police officers in July. The shooting spawned civil unrest and precipitated the shooting deaths of three law enforcement officers and the injuring of a handful of others when a crazed man opened fire on lawmen on a sunny summer Sunday morning.
A decision by the Justice Department will reveal whether or not the officers involved violated Sterling's civil rights and could determine if the cops are indicted.
Unofficial word spread like wildfire last week – a middle school game of telephone suggested federal authorities would reveal something Tuesday, May 2. While no one knows for sure when Washington will announce the results of its inquiry, nor is it clear what will be decided, many are certain whatever comes out will be followed by rallies and protests.
As people in Baton Rouge continue on with their lives, reporters are telling stories of a city “on edge.” NBC News reported overnight, people are seeing more police.
“...You already know [the decision is not] going to be favorable,” Silky Slim told network reporters in an interview where he said he'd already seen “busloads” of officers eating around town. "That don't look promising when they come in like that," he said.
NBC News titled its report “Baton Rouge Bracing for Department of Justice Announcement.”
New Orleans reporters were quick to travel from the Crescent City – where there were overnight protests about removing Confederate monuments – to Baton Rouge to report on the “concern” here.
“The feeling of the whole thing is very eerie,” Silky Slim said in another TV interview, this one with New Orleans' NBC station, WDSU. The reporter ended her story from the Triple S store where Sterling was shot.
As locals move on with the day, authorities remind people to stay calm. Schools have sent messages to parents, alerting them that schools won't close but campuses will be prepared.
Law enforcement said it is not privy to any decision by the Justice Department but will be ready whenever information is released.
U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond, who blasted the federal government last week for letting rumors fester, said in an interview Tuesday morning, he wasn't sure any information would be released Tuesday.
“It could be anytime in the next two weeks, but we don't have a definitive time period,” Richmond told WBRZ reporter Natalia Verdina in an interview via Twitter.
Late Tuesday, national media reported a decision was reached. But, the Justice Department has not revealed its decision. Click HERE to read more.
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