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Black Topics Of Interest and Current Events

The Police Shooting of Dejuan Guillory

Dejuan Guillory was 27 years old. Everyone who knows him calls him sweet, hardworking and charming. Everyone who ever laid eyes on him objectively says that he was good-looking. He loved his children. He had a troubled past that he had put behind him, and he had a promising future as a concrete contractor.

Guillory’s family alleges that he was shot four times in the back on July 6 and was unarmed. However, police say that Guillory, who was previously accused of shooting at an officer, was shot during an “altercation” with the deputy.

In it, Long says that Brown said, that she and Mr. Guillory were on a four-wheel vehicle late at night, they were four wheeling…they were riding on a gravel road… and they passed an officer who was on the side of the road. The officer stopped them and asked for their IDs, which they didn’t have.

In the incident that led up to Guillory’s death, police say that an Evangeline Parish sheriff’s deputy “responded to a report of an attempted burglary just before 4:10 a.m. today near Chad Lane, located about four miles south of Mamou” and made contact “with the suspect, DeJuan Guillory, 27, of Mamou,” according to the television station.

At one point before being shot, “Guillory was begging for his life. Guillory was saying please don’t shoot me, I have three kids. He was very afraid,” alleged the lawyer, who added that Brown claims the officer told Guillory at one point, “Shut the f*ck up or I’ll shoot you.”

Sheriff’s deputy Paul Lafleur was responding to a report of an attempted burglary sometime after 4 a.m. when he encountered Guillory and his girlfriend, 21-year-old, Dequince Brown. The Root reported that the couple were on a date and riding an all-terrain vehicle when they approached a car that was out “in the middle of nowhere” and realized that the person inside was a police officer. It is unclear whether Lafleur was in a marked police car, and whether the couple approached the car first, or if Lafleur was there waiting for the alleged burglar.

On Facebook, Guillory wrote that he was single, although he had posted numerous photos of himself with a woman and children. Most of his posts, including videos and photos, dealt with his children.

Brown’s lawyer said she told him the confrontation between Guillory and the officer “started out verbal. The officer was in Guillory’s face giving him grief about not having his ID on his person, and Guillory was arguing back… the officer wasn’t satisfied with the answer. The officer was in his face, pointing his finger.”

DeJuan’s sister, Kiera Guillory, former law enforcement officer, says that State Police at the local police station were unhelpful in the family’s search for DeJuan’s body. Both DeJuan’s sister and mother worked in law enforcement in the area for over 22 years.

So when a sheriff’s deputy stood over Guillory in an isolated road in the backwoods of Louisiana, fired multiple shots into his back and left him there to die, he didn’t kill Guillory, he transformed him. Before Guillory took his last breath on a dusty, Southern road just outside the tiny town of Mamou, La., he was a man with a future moving away from his past. He was a loving father, a smile and promise.

The deputy, who was injured during the altercation, was transported to a local hospital, where he was listed Thursday in stable condition, Moreau said. The deputy’s identity has not been released.

There are several questions as to why LaFleur was parked in the middle of nowhere at 4 a.m. The Police Department says that he was answering a burglary call. It is unclear whether LaFleur was on duty, in police uniform or even in a marked car, but both Guillory and his girlfriend recognized LaFleur as an officer. The officer allegedly asked both parties for identification, and when they objected, LaFleur ordered them off the four-wheeler. Doran says that Guillory and the officer got into a heated argument, and after a brief altercation, LaFleur told Brown and Guillory to get on the ground.

KATC-TV is reporting that Guillory had been arrested in 2015, accused of stealing an ATM with a backhoe from Citizen’s Bank in Mamou and firing a gun at a responding deputy’s patrol car. At the time, police said they found 12 shell casings shot from an AR 15 assault rifle near the backhoe.

But Joe Long, Brown’s attorney, said in an interview with PenPoint News that Guillory was unarmed and lying face down, with his hands behind his back, as he was instructed to do by Lafleur. In a recorded interview, Brown told her attorney that Guillory was pleading for his life and said, “Please don’t shoot me, I have three kids.” After then, the first shot was fired, according to Brown’s attorney.

Doran told The Root that the deputy went back to his car and stayed there for an extended period of time. However, during their altercation, LaFleur happened to drop his police radio, and it was Brown who called for help, using LaFleur’s radio.

According to Long, Brown then jumped on the officer’s back to prevent him from killing her boyfriend and bit LaFleur, which resulted in him getting injured. LaFleur then fired three more shots at Guillory. DeQuince Brown was arrested on attempted first-degree attempted murder of a police officer.

The deputy had been responding to an attempted burglary in the area of Chad Lane when he encountered Dejuan Guillory, Moreau said. During an ensuing altercation between Guillory and the deputy, Guillory was shot.

“They were both on the ground. Guillory was on the ground, on his belly, his hands behind his back, and the officer had a gun trained at Guillory’s back, maybe a foot or two from Guillory’s body. They were still arguing back and forth but Guillory was on the ground as directed. His hands were behind his back. He was not resisting. All of a sudden, a shot rang out,” Long told Pen Point News.

The Murder of Philando Castile

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Officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled Castile’s car over in Falcon Heights, a suburb near Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the officer later said he thought Castile matched the description of a suspect in a robbery. The stop quickly escalated.

In a statement Friday, the St. Paul Public Schools system said they continued “to remember and mourn the loss of ‘Mr. Phil,” calling him a beloved employee.

“My son loved this city, and this city killed my son,” Mr. Castile’s mother, Valerie, said as she stood on a corner outside the courthouse afterward. “And a murderer gets away. Are you kidding me right now?”

Most of those 29 officers who were found guilty on any count were convicted of a lesser offense, he said. Five of the 29 officers found guilty on at least one count were convicted of murder. Including Yanez, 33 officers were not convicted; Yanez is the 17th officer acquitted after a jury trial. Another 20 criminal cases are still pending, Stinson said.

An audio recording captured Castile telling Yanez he had a gun in the car, and the officer telling Castile not to reach for it. Seconds later, Yanez opened fire.

After five days and more than 25 hours of deliberation, the jury decided that the state had not met its burden for a conviction. Yanez would have faced up to 10 years under Minnesota law if he had been convicted. The jury that determined Yanez’s fate consisted of seven men and five women. Two jurors were black. Following the acquittal, a jury member told the press that the specific wording of the law regarding culpable negligence was the main factor among many leading to the verdict.

John J. Choi, the prosecutor who announced the charges against Officer Yanez, said on Friday that “this verdict brings a lot of hurt and pain and deep-seated frustration for a lot of people in this community.” Mr. Choi said he was disappointed in the verdict, and believed that Mr. Castile “did nothing that justified the taking of his life.”

Prosecutors also charged Yanez with endangering the lives of Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter, who was also riding in the car. On Friday, Reynolds said she was “incredibly disappointed” with the verdict, saying that Castile cooperated and was stopped only because “he had a wide nose and looked like a suspect” to Yanez.

Castile was one of 963 people who police officers fatally shot last year, according to a Washington Post database tracking such shootings. The fatal encounter in Minnesota was among the most high-profile last year because Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, broadcast the moments after Castile’s shooting online, graphic footage that quickly circulated and drew international attention to the Twin Cities suburbs.

Police said about 500 protesters had gathered on the interstate late Friday, closing it to traffic. The Minnesota State Patrol said demonstrators would be arrested if they did not leave the interstate, and early Saturday, the agency said 18 protesters had been arrested.

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Mr. Gray, the defense lawyer, said Officer Yanez had to react quickly to what he believed was an imminent threat. He said Officer Yanez smelled marijuana, believed that Mr. Castile matched the description of a recent robbery suspect and saw him grabbing a gun.

Yanez was the first officer in Minnesota charged for an on-duty shooting since at least 2005, according to Philip M. Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, who studies arrests of officers and has kept data since that year. The Star Tribune newspaper reported that Yanez is believed to be the first officer charged with killing a civilian in the state’s modern history.