SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Government Plaza is where hundreds of people met to make a change in downtown Shreveport on Saturday, June 6.
“People are tired of being tired, of being tired because there’s a shelf of grief and anger that sits in the chest of every black man, woman and child in America and I feel like this is the best way to bring about change," protester Mikah Thomas said.
The organization We the People put together the Justice for Tommie protest and march to discuss police brutality and discrimination in Shreveport and elsewhere in the United States.
“A mother and a father (shouldn’t) have to bury their son because the color of their skin," said Tauren De’Nyce. “Enough is enough.”
De’Nyce is the sister of Anthony Childs, a Shreveport man who died in police custody in February 2019.
She spoke to the crowd of protesters, along with the son of Tommie McGlothen Jr., who died in April while allegedly in police custody.
“He was a great man, a great father," Tommie McGlothen III said.
Saturday’s protest was named after the elder McGlothen. And people didn’t just come to listen, they also came to march.
“I think people finally just woke up to the reality that this is enough," Thomas said.
Handed out along with water were fliers from the organizers detailing these 13 proposed changes for the city of Shreveport and its Police Department:
- Construct and implement a citizens’ review board that is independent from the Police Department to handle any investigations of crimes involving law enforcement whenever harmful methods are employed. Harmful being any of but not limited to police batons, firearms, mace, pepper spray and rubber bullets.
- An audit of the Police Department held by the aforementioned independent review board.
- Require a persecutor that neither directly or indirectly works with the Shreveport or Bossier City police departments in any capacity when prosecuting crimes involving law enforcement.
- Create direct quantifiable criteria to determine what it means to be of good moral character for the minimum requirements to become a police officer.
- Require SPD applicants to test for implicit racial bias.
- Better training practices within the SPD, including programs that occur quarterly and are evaluated for effectiveness every other quarter by both the SPD and the aforementioned citizens’ review board.
- A requirement of body and dash cams for each officer and their vehicle.
- The legal or settlement fees associated with any future cases involving police brutality or misconduct are to be paid out of the police retirement fund.
- Prevent racial profiling
- Reformation of the cash bail/probation fines/fees system.
- The funds allocated to prison construction should be redirected to the renovation of standing prisons to provide and meet a standard of living suitable to the dignity of the inmate.
- A rewrite of the qualified immunity law to ensure police officers face punishment once they have been found guilty of a crime.
- The creation and implementation of a good neighbor policy which will create immunity for anyone who saves a human being from (but not limited to) being pummeled, assaulted and/or murdered by the police in accordance with Warren v. District of Columbia and the Duty to Rescue Doctrine.
We the People plans to expand on these demands so the organization can push for the creation of these policies in October during the legislative period.
The organization also has created the initiative #WhiteByMySide. The initiative will not support any locally owned, white businesses that they’ve supported in the past moving forward in the cities of Shreveport and Bossier City.
This will include businesses who they say are voiceless during these events, but will simultaneously exploit support from fellow black entrepreneurs’ social following for their own gain.
We the People said it will only support those who will utilize their privilege by taking a clear stance (a public post via their business platform) in support of reprimanding and changing the standard of punishment given to officers who murder civilians without just cause or proper protocol.
As protesters marched through Shreveport on Saturday, many including Tommie McGlothen III were happy to see such a large turnout.
“It feels really good. ... We are marching and stepping up," he said. "We lose a lot of lives, but calling out my father’s name really means a lot.”
“Just to see people from all walks of life, all ethnicities and races come together today, it’s a beautiful thing," protester Drayden Dunn said. "But we gotta keep applying the pressure. It doesn’t stop here.”
While to some it might just look like people marching and protesting in the streets, those who were out there said it’s just the beginning for what’s to come.
“We won’t stop until we see change and legislation," Dunn said. “We won’t stop until we see a change in our jobs and our schools. So this is just the beginning for a very, very long road ahead.”