Congressman Garret Graves (R – Baton Rouge) released the following statement today regarding the Department of Justice’s Alton Sterling decision:
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We cannot allow the tragic shootings of 2016 or the fallout to define us or our community, but we can learn from those experiences.
All loss of life is tragic. We’ve already lost Deputy Brad Garafola, Officer Matthew Gerald, Officer Montrell Jackson and Alton Sterling. Deputy Nick Tullier is an amazing warrior overcoming all obstacles, but his life is forever changed and Deputy Bruce Simmons continues to recover from being shot. Nothing good has resulted from these shootings. Right or wrong, each loss represents a loved one, a friend, a confident, a husband, a community member – a life or part of life suddenly, prematurely, and in many cases, senselessly taken.
The abundant evidence in this case –video footage, eyewitness accounts and other sources – faced the extensive scrutiny of both President Obama’s Department of Justice and the current Administration’s. Due to the prolific evidence, this decision should have been issued sooner; however, we trust that this decision is the product of a meticulous and fair investigation.
The Capital Region has endured tremendous hardship – this tragedy, an ambush attack on law enforcement, historical flooding and the recent fatal shooting of a Baton Rouge Deputy. We now have two choices: 1) We can come together as a community, be neighbors and lift one another up as we did in the August flood, or 2) We can, once again, go down the path of violence, death and loss. Only one makes sense.
I was born and raised in the Baton Rouge area. What I experienced on July 17 when our officers were shot was unrecognizable. It was like we were in a foreign country – not home. An outsider spread his evil and hatred here. Someone from out of state hijacked our community. While Baton Rouge has its share of imperfections, we are better than that.
From here, let’s work with our new mayor to convert the city we have into the city we want. I urge our community to continue to pray for the victims and their families and to pray for peace and understanding.