State officials in Louisiana on Saturday launched an investigation into the death of Trayford Pellerin, a 31-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by Lafayette Police Department officers.
The Louisiana State Police said in a statement that a preliminary investigation found that Lafayette officers first encountered Pellerin after responding to a report that someone was at a convenience store armed with a knife. Those officers attempted to detain Pellerin after finding him in the parking lot of the convenience store, prompting Pellerin to flee, state police said.
A foot pursuit ensued, according to the state police, and local officers “deployed Tasers as they pursued Pellerin, but they were ineffective.”
The local officers discharged their firearms as Pellerin tried to enter the convenience store, and Pellerin was struck by the gunfire before being transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, state police said.
The Louisiana State Police offered no additional details on the incident, noting that its probe remained “active.”
Video captured by a bystander showed at least six officers trailing Pellerin as he walked toward a gas station. Several shots were heard ringing out as Pellerin neared the convenience store and he fell to the pavement. Police fired 11 gun shots, according to The Daily Advertiser.
The police shooting comes just months after protests swept across the nation following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for roughly 9 minutes.
The Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called for an “independent investigation of what was clearly an inappropriate and excessive use of force by these officers” in Pellerin’s death.
“While we need to know much more about what occurred last night, we know that it began with a routine ‘disturbance’ call and cell phone video from the scene clearly shows Mr. Pellerin moving away – not towards – police officers, only to be tased and then brutally shot dead,” ACLU Louisiana Executive Director Alanah Odoms Hebert said.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump — who has represented the families of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was fatally shot by Louisville police officers in her apartment — said in a statement Saturday that he had been retained by Pellerin’s family.
“The family, and the people of Lafayette, deserve honesty and accountability from those who are sworn to protect them. The officers involved should be fired immediately,” he said.
We stand with the family of Treyford Pellerin, who was shot to death last night by @LafayettePD_LA. We demand justice and transparency! #JusticeForTrey https://t.co/O8L5msnWTl pic.twitter.com/xkLf3yPhL1
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) August 22, 2020