BATON ROUGE - After his press conference this morning, where he was joined by state legislators, law enforcement and community leaders, Governor John Bel Edwards released the following statement in response to the recent officer-involved shooting in Baton Rouge:
“I join with our community leaders, elected officials, and everyone involved in this tragedy in calling for unity during this very difficult time. From the time I was made aware of the shooting of Mr. Alton Sterling early yesterday, I have remained in continuous contact with Col. Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police and numerous other law enforcement officials as this situation develops. Donna and I extend our sincere prayers and condolences to Mr. Sterling’s family.
“This morning, after meeting with State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson and East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore, I spoke personally to the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, Walt Green, and Congressman Cedric Richmond.
“Today, I have called for the U.S. Department of Justice to lead this investigation going forward. The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the US Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, and the FBI have agreed to work this investigation along with the Louisiana State Police assisting when asked.
“Following our conversations this morning, I have full confidence that the U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a thorough, transparent investigation from beginning to end. I will demand that, as all of you should.
“Based on the information I have obtained from law enforcement and the footage I’ve seen from one publicly available video – that from the handheld cell phone, I have to tell you that I have very serious concerns. This video is disturbing.
“I will meet this afternoon with faith-based community leaders and I am asking those leaders in the faith-based community as well as our local and state elected officials to work together to continue to call for peace and calm across our community as details continue to unfold. I know this may be difficult; I know that we all have strong feelings regarding the events that took place. I know protests are going on, and I am urging everyone to remain peaceful. One thing is for sure – another violent act or another family torn apart is not the answer.
“In Louisiana, we are known for our ability to come together in times of great need. This is one of those times. While the investigations get underway, I am asking everyone to walk thru this difficult time together and safely.”