EBR Billboard

Fallen Heroes Day Proclaimed, Baton Rouge Police Battle Rising Crime Rate

Today marked the fourth anniversary of the horrific ambush of police officers on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge. Motrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald and Brad Garafola each made the ultimate sacrifice to their communities on July 17, 2016 and laid their lives down for the protection of others. Nick Tullier received critical and life changing injuries that day, but did not perish. On today’s anniversary Nick’s father would remark: “Nick lived but lost his life that day.” Also, physically injured that day were Bruce Simmons and Chad Montgomery.

The suspect, Gavin Long, would also perish that day. Mr. Long had traveled to Baton Rouge weeks earlier following the death of Alton Sterling, which had prompted unrest and protest. Circumstances which seem earily familiar today.

But the story and the pain did not end that day, rather continues for the many unrecognized victims of senseless violence. There are children who will grow up with out fathers, parents who will forever mourn the lost of their children and siblings who will always be waiting for just one more chance to talk to their big brother again. Our communities are wounded. Our efforts are divided. And our peace officers are tired.

Earlier this week members of the Baton Rouge Union of Police spoke out about the situation in a manner which wasn’t expected. The union erected billboards competing for space with the likes of Gordon McKernan and Morris Bart, but with a message much stronger. With information that is indisputable they made it known to visitors that the City of Baton Rouge is not safe. As if praying that their shouts from the wilderness are heard by onlookers the billboards read “Baton Rouge 5th Deadliest City in U.S.” and “46 Homicides in 7 months.” Unfortunately, this is not just a game of politics that we in Louisiana are accustomed to – at least not for the Baton Rouge Union of Police. However, others may not see it that way.

“It is unfortunate the police union is choosing to throw stones and disparage our community. The BR Police Union is clearly not serious about making Baton Rouge a better place to live. If they were, they could have donated the money spent on these billboards to anti-violence programs in Baton Rouge” remarked East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. When faced with problems at your own doorstep it is almost always politically convenient to point the finger at others.When facts can’t be disputed the messenger always seems to be attacked. A mere reporting of factual data without assessing blame on anyone is immediately seen by politicians as ‘throwing stones.’  

We see it quite differently and last time we checked we were still allowed to have an option in the matter. This is a cry for help! This a message from a downtrodden group of people who face dangers everyday with little appreciation or recognition. It is time we all stand behind what is right. The victims of criminal activity deserve better from our institutions. Our elders deserve to spend there remaining years in an environment that provides safety and quality of life. Our children deserve the freedom to play safely and the optimism to dream. Lets work together to address the issues, take accountability for our individual actions and stop assigning unjustified blame to groups of people. Please join us today and everyday in remember the fallen heroes! #BackTheBlue




Show your support for the men and women in blue by donating to the Police Association of Lafayette, Local #905!