Over the weekend, Black Lives Matter protesters faced enormous hostility from police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as they blocked major highways to voice dissent against the numerous instances of police brutality within the past week.
While officers were quick to arrest protesters who had congregated on major roadways, they also infiltrated private residences and attempted to arrest activists who had gathered peacefully there.
According to the Daily Beast, over 500 protesters had assembled at a Methodist church when a woman who lived across the street invited many of them to rally at her residence so they would not be arrested.
However, police saw the scene and “charged the crowd,” causing many protesters to end up off the woman’s lawn and onto the sidewalk and street. As soon as they moved, officers began to arrest them for “obstruction of a highway.”
The woman who owned the residence told CBS News that, “I’m stunned at the behavior of police officers that utilized, from what I understand, the ability to take someone that I guess they targeted that was actually on the street, to bombard my yard and bombard my house.”
According to Raw Story, police defended their behavior by claiming it was a preemptive measure: “[Police said] protesters had been planning to march down to the highway and form a blockade…[they] decided to preempt this action by blocking off the interstate ramps themselves.”
The cops were essentially attempting to prohibit the protesters’ First Amendment right to assemble, and their absurd justification in no way rationalizes their behavior.
Storming a private residence in order to force activists to move into the street and arrest them is deplorable, and only compounds the lack of judgment Baton Rouge police have shown.
Banner Image Credit: Twitter, @n9viv