Stories of alleged police brutality shared at Monroe rally
UPDATE: A statement from LSP was sent to KNOE after this report was originally published. It is included at the end of the article.
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Black men from Monroe condemned police brutality at the Juneteenth Kickoff Rally For Justice at Harvey Benoit Community Center. They shared their experiences with community members gathered to protest at Harvey Benoit Community Center.
“How long can you do wrong and accept to get away with it? Well, we will be here, in the words of Attorney Banks-Miley, to hold you accountable, to make sure transparency is there, and to not allow injustice to run rampant here in Monroe, Louisiana,” declared Attorney Carol Powell Lexing.
These are some of their stories: Aaron Bowman said a white Louisiana State Police trooper hit him with a flashlight 18 times during a 2019 traffic stop outside his home in Monroe.
“Since that happened to me, I think, but I can’t think. It’s like I think about something, and it disappears,” Bowman shared.
Timothy Williams said multiple Monroe Police officers beat him during a search in 2020.
“A lot of people didn’t make it through things of this such that’s happened to them, but I’m grateful, and I’m thankful that I’m alive,” reflected Williams.
The Pleasant, Williams & Banks-Miley Law Firm represents both men.
“It takes so much. We see the tears that they cry, the trauma that they’re still suffering now. And even with receiving therapy and doing those things, it can’t take away what they have suffered and what they’re going through,” explained Attorney Donecia Banks-Miley.
Banks-Miley said rallies like these are a launching pad for citizens to speak up and demand change from local officials and state lawmakers. For her clients, she believes change comes in the form of transparency from law enforcement officers.
She is part of the legal team that represents David Harris’ family. Harris died in Monroe Police custody in April.
“And I feel like they should release the body cam so we can know exactly what happened,” said Harris’ niece Laporsha Long.
People who attended this rally say the lives of others depend on the decisions made today, and today, they want to make a difference for a better future.
“This is my only son, and I would rather for all this to stop before my son gets too old. I have brothers and sisters I worry about on a daily basis because of police brutality and gun violence, and all that. My son is two years old. I just hope it stops before he gets too old,” Long said as she held her 2-year-old son, Zayveon Norman.
“We need justice. Not tomorrow, but today,” Norman said.
The City of Monroe released the following statement: “The mayor has been committed to transparency since he took office. Both Mayor Ellis and Chief Zordan have a history of holding officers accountable, including those who engage in wrongdoing or seek to delay justice, and will continue to do so.”
The following statement from LSP was sent to KNOE after the initial publishing of this report:
“The investigation into the death of Ronald Greene remains under review by federal and state authorities. Troopers involved in the Greene incident have already received internal discipline while awaiting the results of the federal review. LSP is confident in the judicial system and fair review of this incident and continues to offer our full cooperation.
“In reference to separate incidents, LSP immediately initiated a criminal investigation and placed the involved Troopers on administrative leave. Louisiana State Police Investigators completed a thorough and detailed investigation leading to the arrest of the Troopers involved in the incidents.”
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