Officer-involved shooting prompts protest
POSTED: Friday, March 9, 2012 - 7:45pm
UPDATED: Friday, March 9, 2012 - 7:49pm
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WDSU) — Two New Orleans families are joining forces to put pressure on police after losing their loved ones during officer-involved shootings.
Raw emotions of outrage and frustration poured from a crowd of citizens gathered in front of the New Orleans Police Department on Friday, saying they're puzzled and confused over the death of Wendell Allen.
The 20-year-old was killed by a New Orleans police officer inside his Gentilly home Wednesday, police said.
"They took the best part of him, his heart. They shot him in his heart. That is not a warning shot. That is very excessive and unnecessary," said Tammy Peters, Allen's aunt.
Grieving family members consoled one another as Peters called for the arrest of Officer Joshua Colclough, the plain-clothed narcotics officer who authorities said shot Allen while executing a search warrant.
"He should be fired," Peters said.
Two groups, United New Orleans Front and Community United for Change, said Allen's death is an example of excessive force used too often by New Orleans police in the black community.
"You say that, 'Well, we come to clean up crime,' and the results of that is the deaths of, is the unjustified deaths of, our young black men," Community United for Change representative Malcolm Suber said.
The groups said they are looking for change within the NOPD, beginning with Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
"Serpas is incapable of giving leadership to this department or making any significant reforms," United New Orleans Front representative Cynthia Parker said.
Allen's killing is the second police-involved death in two weeks. Last Thursday, a gun battle between police and two brothers ended Justin Sipp's life.
The groups are calling for transparency in the investigations.
"The UNOF demands immediate release of information collected to date concerning the Justin Sipp murder," Parker said.
Friday's protest was the second in as many days. Members of Community United for Change protested outside City Hall on Thursday.
The U.S. Attorney's Office, the Civil Rights Division and the FBI released a joint statement, saying, "The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, the Civil Rights Division and the FBI are aware of the recent shootings and the community's need to have full confidence in the processes in which they are examined. The Department of Justice feels for the families of all involved and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured officers and civilian. Presently, NOPD's Public Integrity Bureau (to which FBI special agents are assigned) is conducting investigations into these shootings. Additionally, these special agents will monitor the investigations. At this time, we want the public we serve to know that together we will continue to be vigilant in monitoring the status of these investigations and will take further action as appropriate."