July 11, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. — Eyewitness accounts at demonstrations taking place in Baton Rouge and surrounding cities following the shooting of Alton Sterling brought to light the militarization of and illegal use of force by police on protesters.

American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman commented:

“The Baton Rouge police used violent, militarized tactics on groups of people who have gathered peacefully in protest of Alton Sterling’s killing. We were on the scene and witnessed police in full riot gear with assault rifles while individuals were exercising their lawful rights and posed no threat. The police lunged and grabbed at peacefully assembled people and threw them to the ground. Such misconduct violates the constitution and is serving to escalate an environment already filled with tension. 

“We depend on the police to protect and serve everyone in our communities, to treat people fairly, to use violence only as the very last resort. But the Baton Rouge police have failed us. They failed when they encountered Alton Sterling. They failed when they lashed out at people protesting in peace. 

“The ACLU stands with the protesters in Baton Rouge and urges the police to honor our constitutional rights instead of stomping on them.”

Please send reports or video of inappropriate police conduct to: batonrouge@laaclu.org

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