More than 100 people arrested during heated protest at BRPD headquarters

More than 100 people arrested during heated protest at BRPD headquarters

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Almost 150 people have been arrested since Friday afternoon as more protests and rallies are planned for the fifth day of demonstrations following the death of Alton Sterling.

Hundreds have gone out to protest near the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters on Airline Highway for several hours on both Friday and Saturday. A large crowd of protesters started a march from Cortana Mall down Airline Hwy. to headquarters Saturday afternoon.

Officials say 102 people were arrested during Saturday's protest along with the 30 people who were arrested during Friday's protest for impeding traffic. Several journalists were among those arrested, including a WAFB employee.

Police also say they confiscated several guns on Saturday, including three rifles, three shotguns, and two pistols.

"Up until tonight, it's been pretty much a peaceful day. For the most part, we're trying to keep them out of traffic," said BRPD Police Chief Carl Dabadie. "Our biggest concern, right now, is the amount of people on the roadway. We don't want anybody hurt here, we don't want any of the officers hurt. We don't want any of the protesters hurt."

Law enforcement was out in riot gear during both protests on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, BRPD was assisted by Louisiana State Police and the sheriff's offices from East Baton Rouge, Livingston and Ascension parishes.

"We don't question people's right to peacefully assemble or protest, and we're gonna protect that right. But in the same token, we made it clear that we aren't gonna tolerate any lawlessness. We're not gonna tolerate any violence or destruction," said East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.

According to BRPD officials, two officers were injured during the protest, including one who had several teeth knocked out by a projectile thrown by a member of the crowd. BRPD says any protests that become violent will be dispersed immediately.

There was also a march on Saturday from Baton Rouge City Hall to the Louisiana State Capital where a rally unfolded. Several lawmakers attended the event, and there were no arrests or reported incidents.

At least one more demonstration is set to happen Sunday. A youth-led rally will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church on 544 Government Street, , starting at 3 p.m. It will be followed by another march to the State Capitol at 4 p.m.

Protesters first started gathering outside of the Triple S Food Mart on North Foster Drive, where Sterling was killed, since Tuesday afternoon. Organizers moved the protests to the BRPD headquarters Friday afternoon, saying they wanted to get the police's attention.

People have gathered across Baton Rouge to participate in rallies and vigils since Sterling was killed in an officer-involved shooting early Tuesday morning.

On July 5, police received a call claiming a man was threatening someone with a gun outside of the Triple S Food Mart on N. Foster Drive. Officials said after arriving on the scene, Officer Blane Salamoni and Officer Howie Lake II got in an altercation with Sterling, 37, who was allegedly outside the store selling CDs.

The store owner, who witnessed the shooting, said things quickly got out of control. One officer used a stun gun on Sterling, then the other officer tackled Sterling to the ground. He added that the officers shot Sterling four to six times shortly after he was tackled. An autopsy revealed that Sterling died of multiple gunshot wounds to his back and chest.

Officials said both officers had on body cameras but they fell off during the struggle and do not show the shooting. However, authorities were analyzing dash cam video and store surveillance video, which are believed to have captured the ordeal.

The investigation was handed over to the FBI Wednesday, and East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said on Thursday the DA's office would not make a move on the case until the federal investigators wrapped up their investigation.

Both officers were placed on administrative leave after the shooting, which is standard procedure. The DA said both officers said that they felt their actions were justified just after the shooting.

The 9News Investigators learned from a source that Officer Blane Salamoni, a four-year veteran of the force, was the only officer to fire during the shooting, according to a preliminary investigation by Baton Rouge police.

The 9News Investigators also found complaints of force filed against the two officers in their histories with BRPD's Internal Affairs.

A documentary crew arrived to the Triple S Food Mart just in time to record the shooting of Alton Sterling on a cell phone. The video, which surfaced on Tuesday evening, shows a portion of the struggle and the shooting.

Another cell phone video from a private citizen emerged Wednesday afternoon. The graphic video, which was shot from a much closer distance, shows the two Baton Rouge police officers struggling with Sterling.

Sterling's family confirmed that he had a prior history with police including felony arrests.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for people to donate to a scholarship fund for Sterling's children, including his eldest son who is 15-year-old.


Protest heats up near BRPD HQ with heavy law enforcement presence

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