73 year old Bernard Monroe was shot and killed by white police officers on his front porch in front of his family and friends. Mr. Monroe, a retired utility worker, was hosting a bar-b-que in the front yard of his Homer, Louisiana home for his children, dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren and friends when two white police officers pulled up in front of his house. The sight of of the cop car brought a hush to the yard and moments later Mr. Monroe was dead.
After the cop car rolled to a stop one of the officers called out to one of Mr. Monroe’s sons. The son, who has been arrested in the past but did not have any pending warrants, got up and ran into the house. One of the officers, a two week rookie, jumped out of the cop car and chased the young man into the house. Mr. Monroe, who could not speak because of a bout with throat cancer, got up from a chair in the yard and advanced to his porch. At that point, the unarmed man was shot through the screen of his front door.
“He just shot him through the screen door,” said Denise Nicholson, a family friend who said she was standing a few feet away. “After [Monroe] was on the ground, we kept asking the officer to call an ambulance, but all he did was get on his radio and say, ‘Officer in distress.’ ”
What happened next is chilling. Witnesses say the second officer picked up a handgun that Mr. Monroe, an avid hunter, always kept in plain sight on the porch for protection. Using a latex glove, the officer grasped the gun by its handle, the witnesses said, and ordered everyone to back away. The next thing they said they saw was the gun next to Monroe’s body.”I saw him pick up the gun off the porch,” Marcus Frazier said. “I said, ‘What are you doing?’ The cop told me, ‘Shut the hell up, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ ”
“People here are afraid of the police,” said Terry Willis, vice president of the Homer branch of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People. “They harass black people, they stop people for no reason and rough them up without charging them with anything.”
“That is how it should be, responded Homer Police Chief Russell Mills, who noted the high rates of gun and drug arrests in the neighborhood. “If I see three or four young black men walking down the street, I have to stop them and check their names,” said Mills, who is white. “I want them to be afraid every time they see the police that they might get arrested.”