SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — For the second day in a row, Shreveport saw another peaceful protest in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis along with local issues and concerns from the general public.
Compared to the hundreds of people who turned out for the Black Lives Matter rally and march Sunday in Shreveport, it was a much smaller but vocal crowd for the Community Congress for Justice rally outside Shreveport police headquarters Monday morning.
As a speaker shouted “No justice ...”; the crowd replied “No peace!”
The rally began with a call for justice in the death of Floyd in Minneapolis. Then protesters turned their attention to what they described as systemic injustices in Shreveport.
In a series of people offering their remarks, one speaker delivered a message to those gathered about their views on inequality here at home.
"They need to change the bill of rights to the bill of white because all we see is white privileges. And we (see) discrimination all over this America, especially in Shreveport."
Another speaker specifically called for the elimination of what’s seen as persistent racial profiling and questionable investigations in the city. “It is sad that we have to have a protest to make law enforcement and our leaders to do the job they were hired to do. It’s sad in 2020.”
Roughly halfway through the rally came a declaration by community activist Marvin Muhammad about the police chief.
"We call for the resignation of Ben Raymond, today!"
Muhammad cited several examples of what critics have called poor judgment by the police chief.
One is Raymond’s handling of a Facebook post by Shreveport Police Academy use-of-force instructor Sgt. Brent Mason.
The post described Floyd’s death as a likely accident based on poor techniques by the Minneapolis police officers, not a homicide. The post ultimately led to Mason being placed on departmental leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
The rally Monday came a day after hundreds of people took part in a Black Lives Matter protest and march that began at the SporTran bus terminal right across the street from police headquarters.
From there, the huge group held a rally at the Caddo Parish Courthouse, where the Confederate statue still stands. After years of legal wrangling, the Caddo Commission is expected to remove that controversial monument sometime in the near future.
At both Monday's and Sunday's events, activists explained that much of the injustices they see and experience boil down to one factor.
Elder Njeri Camara, pastor of Restoring Broken Lives Outreach Ministry, summed it up for the group: “What we’re talking about is a culture. It’s not necessarily black or white. It’s about wrong or right.”
For one activist who spoke at this rally, it's been a long time coming.
“I’m so happy y’all doing this! Because I’ve been praying for this since 2010. And, guess what, it finally happened. People stand up for your rights! Don’t let 'em take your rights.”
Another speaker told protesters that Shreveport faces three viruses at the moment.
The first is sin. “Sin brings on jealousy, which brings on hatred, which brings on anger, which brings on strife, which brings on wrath. And wrath brings on death.”
The second virus is COVID-19. And the third virus:
"Racism is a virus. And until we all stand up against it, it is never going anywhere."
Some activists said as America becomes more diverse, the old power structures will not survive.
"America is changing. And there's nothing you can do about it. Don't be afraid. We won't do you like you did us!"
KSLA News 12 has reached out to the Shreveport Police Department to see if there is any statement or response to the call for the police chief to resign.