Officers tase protesters outside of BRPD headquarters
Warning: The videos attached to this story contain graphic language. (above video courtesy of WWL)
BATON ROUGE – A film crew accompanied rowdy protesters who caused a disturbance outside Baton Rouge Police Headquarters Wednesday afternoon.
During the protest, police said those who gathered attempted to storm through a barricade and were arrested. Seven people were taken to jail on misdemeanor charges for being in an area they were told to leave. Police have set up areas around the police headquarters facility for protests but have restricted areas.
“We want you to [protest] the right way, don't impede on others' individual rights,” a police spokesperson said. Officers reacted when the protesters broke the law and ignored warnings to protesters asking them to back away from the barricaded area. “[Protesters] attempted to push and storm through the barricade,” police said.
The protesters were from the New Black Panther Party and had gathered in a grassy area outside the police department to protest the shooting death of Alton Sterling a year ago today.
The group numbered about twenty-five to thirty and also included a film crew. To the surprise of police, protesters wore microphones, possibly linked to the film crew.
“They had an additional group with them,” filming the situation. Police said it wasn't clear if the production crew was hired or if, by coincidence, showed up as the situation escalated, but some protesters were wearing microphones.
"Some of their individuals were mic'd-up," a police spokesperson said.
Video from another source shows officers moving in as protesters pushed through the restricted area. Police said one protester had a stun gun and a police officer fired a department-issued taser during the scuffle.
A police officer was hit by an unknown taser and a protester had a minor injury to her leg.
Situation escalate. Tazers out and cuffs on. One cop tazed too. Sterling's aunts screaming on ground. pic.twitter.com/fmC0QJUCbA— Emma Discher (@EmmaDischer) July 5, 2017
Officers have avoided violent encounters with protesters and have asked groups to submit paperwork for an organized protest to ensure everyone's safety.
“We'd like them to get a permit and do it the right way so we can provide police security,” a department spokesperson said.
The protest Wednesday comes a year after Sterling was shot and killed by Baton Rouge Police at a convenience store in north Baton Rouge and more than a month since a federal decision about the case. In May, the Department of Justice chose not to pursue charges against the officers involved in the shooting.
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