Lawrence Hurley, Chris Prentice of Reuters via Huff Post Black Voices
Before the killing of three law enforcement officers on Sunday and the fatal shooting of a black man by police earlier this month, Baton Rouge was a city divided between the police and the policed.
Tensions in Louisiana’s state capital go back years. For many residents, the police force has been viewed as overly aggressive and unrepresentative of a city where over half the 230,000 residents are black and where racial problems date back decades.
Minorities are “very wary of police and often afraid of them,” says Michele Fournet, a veteran Baton Rouge criminal defense lawyer.
It was unclear whether there was a link between Sunday’s shootings and the recent unrest over the police killings of black men in Baton Rouge and Minnesota. Police told CNN the shootings on Sunday did not appear to be race-related.
Officers were responding to a call of shots fired when they were shot in what Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden described as “an ambush-style deal.” Three officers were killed and three others wounded. The gunman is dead.
“It is unspeakable that these men risking their lives to protect and serve this community were taken out the way that they were,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards told a news briefing.
“The hatred just has to stop,” he said.
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