Crowds of activists gathered on Saturday evening at the Shell gas station along Evangeline Thruway, where Trayford Pellerin, 31, was shot and killed Friday night.
A group of protesters demanding justice soon spilled onto the road, blocking it with a human chain, and declaring that “nobody gets past this line!”
Initially peaceful, some protesters reportedly threw bottles and rocks at police cars, and faced off with a line of riot cops.
Police declared the gathering “unlawful,” making several arrests and using smoke grenades to disperse the remaining crowd, according to Acadiana Advocate reporter Katie Gagliano.
Pellerin was shot nearly a dozen times after Lafayette Police Department officers responded to a disturbance call about “a man with a knife” at a gas station around 8pm Friday, and later died in a hospital.
Denouncing the incident as yet another example of systemic racism, BLM activists and a local ACLU branch branded it a cold-blooded “murder,” and accused police of escalating a “routine encounter” into a “deadly shooting spree.”
While the investigation is ongoing, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory was forced to address public anger in a late Saturday statement, insisting that the officers used deadly force against Pellerin only “when it became apparent the armed individual was attempting to enter a convenience store, threatening the lives of the customers and workers inside.”
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