End Paramilitarized Police in Baton Rouge

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Kristopher Mecholsky started this petition to State Representative Barbara Reich Freiberg and

I created a petition for this exact issue six years ago. It's depressing that the issue is even more relevant and has far greater consequences now.

In Louisville, after midnight on March 13, 2020, police used a battering ram in a no-knock warrant to crash into Breonna Taylor's apartment; after a tense exchange, police shot her to death. They were looking for a man (whom, it turned out, they already had in custody) who was not there. They shot because her boyfriend, who was licensed to carry a gun, thought they were being invaded.

In Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, police reacted to the justifiable anger of its citizens with incredible police brutality. In addition to brutality against protesting citizens, the police have even arrested reporters sitting in a McDonald's without a given reason and have shot tear gas at camera crews who were doing nothing but recording events.

In Georgia, a SWAT team, entering a house based on a $50 drug sale for drugs they never found, threw a flashbang grenade into a crib. That grenade blew a hole in the chest of a toddler named Bounkham "Bou Bou" Phonesavanh. His ribs were exposed for even weeks afterward. At the time of my first petition, the extent of his brain damage was unknown. He is still receiving surgeries, as he is able as he ages, for his condition. It was Bou Bou's father's nephew they were looking for. He was not there, nor did he live there. There was no time to find that out.

In Baton Rouge, on June 11, 2014, police entered a home on Lila Avenue investigating whether or not marijuana was being dealt. They threw flashbang grenades into the house and entered with machine guns. Brett Percle, a guest in the house, was ordered to lie on the floor, and as he complied, he was kicked in the back of the neck and shoulders. His face hit the floor, knocking out his front teeth. He requested an ambulance, but was refused. He was strip searched in front of dozens of officers. After an interrogation, he was later released and not charged with any crime whatsoever.

This is to say nothing of Alton Sterling in 2016 or George Floyd in 2020 or countless other violent atrocities.

Police brutality needs to end. In two of the above cases, which are just four of many, police were looking for small amounts of drugs. No one was being hurt, no one threatened the police, no one even called the police. But they came with machine guns and flashbang grenades, which are intended for use in war. Flashbang grenades were developed by the British Army's Special Air Service, a special forces regiment that is highly trained for unconventional and high-risk missions.

The ACLU contributed a report in 2014 (https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/jus14-warcomeshome-report-web-rel1.pdf when I first started this petition on the militarization of American police forces. It provides data to corroborate these anecdotes, which are just a few of a nationwide trend that has unfortunately continued.

We need to limit severely the paramilitary policing of the citizens of the United States. This is not a liberal issue; this is not a conservative issue; this is not a partisan issue. Democrats, Republicans, Green party followers, Tea Party followers--in short, all citizens--should be appalled at the growing and clear disregard for the rights of its citizens. I would like for you all to draft legislation and enact policies, as per your duties, to protect the citizens of Louisiana and provide an example for other states. I would be very happy to help draft this legislation and promote its necessity.

It is the duty of our elected representatives to protect citizens from government abuse, including police misconduct.

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