War Resisters League condemns in the strongest terms the Baton Rouge Police Department’s heavily militarized response to protests against the murder of Alton Sterling by BRPD this past Tuesday, July 5th. We stand with protesters in demanding justice after the brutal murder of Alton Sterling by BRPD on July 5th, the very police department known for brutality in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, of having numerous use-of-force complaints against officers, and several shootings of Black men in past years garnering no external investigations.
Among the militarized gear of the Baton Rouge police department are 558 assault rifles (from a military transfer program), ear-splitting sirens called LRADs (Long Range Acoustic Devices), an armored personnel carrier (MRAP) and tear gas-- all of which have been deployed over the last week. Possible sources of funding of this war equipment and the training producing militarized tactics are from BRPD funders: State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) from which BRPD received $3,978,000 in FY2015 and the JAG program granting 3.5 million over the past 5 years.
Many on the ground at recent protests - including New Orleans-based vocalist Solange Knowles - likened the scene to a ‘war zone.’ The time to demilitarize is now!
Four things you can do:
Sign - Justice for Alton Sterling: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/678/897/776/justice-for-alton-sterling/
Pledge - Take the Pledge for the Movement for Black Lives #M4BL: http://action.movementforblacklives.org/
Fund - Baton Rouge Legal Defense Fund: https://www.crowdrise.com/baton-rouge-bail-fund
Fund- #AltonSterlingFamily Scholarship https://www.gofundme.com/2d3eze7g
Ieshia Evans, 28, facing down the robocops of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
[Photo: Jonathan Bachman / Reuters]