Protesters and police clashed in Lafayette, Louisiana a day after police fatally shot Trayford Pellerin, a 31-year-old Black man, outside a convenience store.
On Saturday night, protesters blocked traffic as they gathered on Moss Street in Lafayette near a police precinct to protest Pellerin’s death, CNN affiliate KATC reported.
Police in riot gear gave a 10-minute warning before releasing flares and smoke canisters into the crowd of protesters, KATC reported.
Afterward, Interim Lafayette Police Chief Scott Morgan drew a distinction between protesters who organized an event earlier in the day and those who he said “choose to be malicious.” He said people blocked important roadways and started several fires in a grass area, and police observed some throwing fireworks into one of their buildings.
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“Our intent is not going to be to just let people disrupt our town and put our citizens and our motorists and our neighborhood in danger. We’re going to use those resources that we have and those other agencies and we’re going to enforce these laws,” he said.
The protests came after the ACLU of Louisiana called for an independent investigation into Pellerin’s death, which they said was captured on video. CNN is working to obtain and verify the video.
“Once again, video footage has captured a horrific and deadly incident of police violence against a Black person who was brutally killed in front of our eyes,” Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, said in a statement.
Hebert said the shooting was an “inappropriate and excessive use of force” by the police.
“None of our communities are safe when the police can murder people with impunity or when routine encounters escalate into deadly shooting sprees,” Hebert said. “The ACLU of Louisiana will continue to demand justice for this brutal killing and push for reforms that will end the epidemic of police violence once and for all.”
Pellerin’s death comes near the end of a summer that has seen widespread protests and outrage over racial injustice and police brutality following the police killings of Black people including George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.