Baton Rouge, LA (PPN) – Customers outside of a Baton Rouge grocery store were frightened for their lives when two Baton Rouge police officers approached them with assault rifles drawn, aimed, and ready to shoot.
The officers allegedly received a call that someone had a gun in front of a store on the corner of N. 22nd St. and Jackson Avenue.
Eric Louis pulled into Ann’s grocery parking lot on May 23. A homeless man who was standing outside of the store asked him for one dollar; he agreed to give it to him.
Suddenly, he notices a police patrol car turn around in the middle of N. 22nd St. and slowly pull on the side of the store and then another.
“Seconds later an unmarked car turns around in the middle of N. 22nd and parks on the side of the road,” Louis told PPN investigators.
One of the officers drove a BRPD unit and the other was in an unmarked white vehicle.
Before he could walk inside of the store, the two officers approached the crowd with their assault rifles already drawn, “Everybody hands up!”
“I throw my keys on the ground, put my hands up and ask what are ya’ll doing?”
The second cop told everyone to get on the ground while sweeping his rifle left to right in front of the crowd of about 10 people.
“We received a call saying someone had a gun!”
The officer randomly accused and identified the homeless man as the alleged suspect and pressed his knee on the man’s neck.
While barley breathing, the homeless man told the armed officers that he didn’t have a gun.
Louis and others were told to get up. Before proceeding into the store, he asked the special agent if having guns already drawn and aimed was their protocol.
The officer boldly replied “Oh yea”.
“I walked into the store scared and confused.” Louis said he began to weep. “I just knew I was about to be another unarmed black man shot and killed by a police officer.”
Too many unarmed Black men in America have been shot and killed by armed police officers. The thought of losing your life to anyone is freightening, especially when the person that has the gun is a trained cop.
The alleged suspect didn’t have a gun and was a regular at the store. The store owner told Louis that the homeless man doesn’t bother anybody.
In a matter of minutes, about a dozen more police units arrived on the scene.
In February, Mayor Weston Broome released a new use of force policy for the department and plans to hire a new police chief.
Louis visited a local prescient to file a police report. An officer spoke with him, with a pen and pad in hand, but never gave Louis a police complaint form.
He posed the same protocol question to the Internal Affairs officer. He was told that authorities are trained to have guns ready, not drawn, and held at a 45 degrees angle pointing towards the ground.
“I know damn well that wasn’t protocol for BR police to come to a place with assault rifles drawn”, Louis stated, and he was correct.
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