Governor John Bel Edwards met with Baton Rouge community leaders Monday, to prepare for the eventual Department of Justice investigation results into the Alton Sterling shooting.
“We have no idea when the Department of Justice will make an announcement about whether or not it will prosecute any officers involved in the Alton Sterling shooting,” the governor told the media afterward. “This is a meeting we have to have regardless.”
Sharon Weston Broome, the Democrat in next month’s runoff for Baton Rouge mayor, was present. Her competitor, Republican Bodi White, was not. Here’s what they said about ithe meeting and the investigation results during their Baton Rouge Press Club debate later in the day.
“I believe that the people of this city and parish want justice and equity. That is at the key of our response to what happens with Alton Sterling,” Broome stated.
“When that decision comes down, then we have to sit down and work with each other -- the people here, not necessarily the Governor’s office,” White said, adding, “And it’s gonna be our city and our parish, that we decide how we move forward.”
Broome, a former state senator, served with White who is still in the state senate. Broome made note of the fact that White led the charge for breakaway school districts and the breakaway city of St. George.
“When we talk about bringing people together, we have to first demonstrate that with our leadership. And I’m disappointed that my friend and colleague here has not done that over the years,” she said. “A continuous dialogue on division and subtraction does not add to our city and our parish.”
White fired back.
“There she goes again, talking about and attacking the people in south Baton Rouge. Those folks just wanted better schools for their kids.”
White has said repeatedly during the campaign that improving education will be one of his major goals. Broome, however, reminded him, “The mayor does not have policy authority over the education system.”
“How can a mayor not be concerned about the education of their parish and of their workforce?” White responded.
Returning to the topic of the disconnect between law enforcement and the community, both were asked what they’ll seek in appointing the next police chief.
“I’m very committed to hiring a new police chief,” Broome stated. “But I want a police chief who will be in sync with my vision to close the gap between law enforcement and the citizens of this community.”
“I want to see a police chief that exemplifies my work ethic, so that we regain the respect in this community,” White said.
The runoff is December 10th.