Trayford Pellerin Lafayette, Louisiana black man shot dead by police leads to investigation as shooting caught on video raises question of police conduct & racial injustice.
When cops act as judge, jury & executioner. Louisiana State Police are investigating the death of a 31-year-old Black man who was fatally shot Friday night during an encounter with officers from the Lafayette Police Department.
Officers were called to a Lafayette convenience store shortly after 8 p.m. Friday to respond to a ‘disturbance involving a person armed with a knife,’ according to a statement from the Louisiana State Police.
The police found Trayford Pellerin in the store’s parking lot with a knife. When officers tried to apprehend him, Pellerin left and officers followed on foot. The police used Tasers as they pursued him, the statement says, ‘but they were ineffective.’
The officers shot Pellerin as he tried to enter a convenience store along NW Evangeline Thruway, according to Louisiana State Police. Pellerin was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Both the state ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center called for an investigation into the shooting which the ACLU condemned & described as a ‘horrific and deadly incident of police violence against a Black person.’
Several cops surrounded a Black man and fatally shot him 10+ times tonight in Lafayette, LA! He reportedly had a knife and was walking away from police, but didn’t deserve to die — they acted as judge jury and executioner. We demand JUSTICE and ANSWERS. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/6gI3rNU4FH
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) August 22, 2020
What if he were a white man?
‘Lafayette police shot Mr. Pellerin several times as he walked away from them,’ Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in an emailed statement. ‘His killing demands an analysis of the excessive use of force by law enforcement. We fully support movement leaders’ calls for a swift and transparent investigation into Mr. Pellerin’s killing.’
State police said no officers were injured and that the investigation is ‘active and ongoing.’
The Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation following a request Friday from the Lafayette police CNN reports.
Pellerin’s death follows widespread protests and outrage over racial injustice and police brutality following the police killings of Black people like George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump is reported to be among the lawyers representing the Pellerin’s family. Crump called for the officers involved to be fired.
‘We refuse to let this case resolve like so many others: quietly and without answers and justice,’ said Crump, who also represents the families of Floyd and Taylor.
‘The family, and the people of Lafayette, deserve honesty and accountability from those who are sworn to protect them — the Lafayette police,’ he added, calling the shooting reckless and the victim’s death tragic.
‘Instead of giving him a helping hand they gave him bullets,’
Pellerin became anxious in groups and may have been frightened by the officers, the victim’s mother, Michelle Pellerin told The Advocate. He had sought professional help earlier this year, she said.
‘Instead of giving him a helping hand they gave him bullets,’ Crump told the Advocate.
The family believes Pellerin may have been having a mental health crisis, Crump said.
Baton Rouge attorney Ronald Haley & Crump told the Advocate they will be seeking reform and policy changes in the police department as well as damages.
‘We want policy changes as well, so that Ben and I are not in the living room with another family in Lafayette dealing with this,’ Haley said.
Come Saturday, Pellerin’s death protesters gathered downtown to demonstrate against the latest fatal police shooting. Officers in riot gear fired smoke canisters, Saturday night to get the crowd to disperse.
Last night police shot and killed 31-year-old Trayford Pellerin in Lafayette, Louisiana. Tonight people are marching in Lafayette and police in riot gear are threatening to arrest them. #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/jgohlCIObv
— pdx law grrrl (@pdxlawgrrrl) August 23, 2020