BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - People who attended the East Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday got some straight talk from two men who once lead the Baton Rouge Police Department.
Greg Phares, who has served as both East Baton Rouge sheriff and Baton Rouge police chief in the past, grabbed the microphone and got right to the
"I was police chief for less than 10 years, and I'm not proud about what I'm going to say but, we killed six people during those 10 years," Phares said.
Phares acknowledged the challenges facing current BRPD Chief Carl Dabadie while two of his officers are investigated in shooting death of Alton Sterling. Dabadie is also grieving the loss of two of his own men.
Another former BRPD chief, Pat Englade, responded to claims that African Americans are more likely to be targeted by police.
"I've heard the phrase used many times, you don't know what it's like to be in a black man's body, and you're absolutely right, I do not. But most of you don't know what it's like to be in that police uniform either," Englade said.
Both men encouraged the crowd of community leaders to help them get everyone on the same page. Part of that, they said, involves understanding and accepting cultures rather than trying to change them.
"I want to sit down with people who don't think like me. That's when you resolve something. If we all agree on something then we don't have any problems," Englade said.
Community activist Redell Norman encouraged everyone in the room to get out of their seats and take their ideas where they would best be heard.
"We have to hit the streets, pound the pavement. If you are not out in the streets talking to the community they are not going to respect that," Norman said.
His suggestion was met an agreement from a lot of the people in this room to get on a path forward starting with a community event The Resistance organization is hosting on Saturday, July 30.
The live concert will be held in the Glen Oaks neighborhood at the Ragusa Meat Market parking lot. It will include free food, drinks, a school supply giveaway, and activities for children.