SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Speakers at a rally Monday outside the Shreveport police headquarters called for the removal of police chief Ben Raymond and an officer under investigation for comments made on social media about the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.
“George Floyd is the catalyst for why we’re here, but George Floyd is not the only reason why we’re here,” said one speaker.
Speakers at the rally also demanded accountability from the Shreveport Police Department in addressing discriminatory practices and the use of excessive use of force.
Several speakers spoke of their personal experiences, citing examples of bias and racist treatment in encounters with Shreveport police in calling for officers, city and police administration, and elected leaders to be held accountable for a variety of failures in upholding equal justice.
Mayor Adrian Perkins and police chief Ben Raymond addressed both Floyd’s death and the investigation involving the officer on Thursday, urging patience with the process and denouncing the actions of the Minneapolis officers.
In addition to plans for town hall meetings to provide an opportunity for citizens and police officers to discuss national and local events that prompt investigations into law enforcement practices, policies, and procedures, Perkins also announced that he is creating a 22 member Commission on Race and Cultural Diversity, which will begin work in June on how to build trust between SPD and the community of color.
More demonstrations are planned for Thursday and Saturday in Shreveport.
Protests over Floyd’s death have spread around the United States as his case renewed anger over others involving African Americans, police, and race relations.
Hundreds of protesters turned out Sunday for a Black Lives Matter march to the Caddo courthouse, carrying signs and chanted slogans demanding police be held accountable for the deaths of people of color at the hands of law enforcement. Speakers on the courthouse steps called for protests to remain peaceful, but vowed 45 days of sustained action.