BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — For three days since Alton Sterling’s killing outside of a convenience store, the Baton Rouge Police Department has been invisible. Not a single officer was dispatched to the ongoing protest outside the Triple S Mart, the site of the shooting.
That changed on Friday night.
When protesters converged on an intersection of Airline Highway across from the Baton Rouge Police Department’s central hub, police responded in force. Hundreds of officers, outfitted with riot gear—shields and guns—blocked the highway and faced off with the protesters on the street corner. Snipers watched from the top of the police department building.
“We stepped in they hood,” said Rashard Rusk, the protest organizer. “They don’t like it.” Rusk was determined to keep things peaceful, but had a rag to cover his nose and his mouth in case things escalated. Halfway through the conversation, he leapt onto an electrical box overlooking the protest, to order people back from a confrontation with the police. “We’re peaceful,” he said, “They are afraid of us being out here.”
The protest ultimately remained calm. The Daily Beast counted only 4 people arrested, and a Circle K across the street from the police department donated water to the protestors.
And the FBI reached out to The Daily Beast to say that at the moment, there are “no specific or credible threats to the state of Louisiana.”