State and East Baton Rouge Teachers’ Leaders Recall Commitment
To Duty and Sacrifice by Three Slain in Ambush by Gunman
MINNEAPOLIS—Louisiana educators gathered here for the American Federation of Teachers national convention today publicly honored the three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers slain Sunday by a gunman who authorities say was specifically targeting police.
Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Larry Carter was joined by East Baton Rouge Federation of Teachers President Carnell Washington to pay homage to Baton Rouge Police Officers Montrell Jackson and Matthew Gerald, and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Garafola. The three were killed July 17 in an ambush shooting in Baton Rouge.
The two teachers union leaders noted their close ties with the Baton Rouge Police. “Like our organizations, the Baton Rouge Union of Police is an AFL-CIO affiliate,” Carter said. “They are our union brothers and sisters, and we have worked closely together on issues that affect public servants.”
The killing of the officers followed the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police 12 days earlier. Carter and Washington said the violence must stop and urged all Louisianans to come together. “By joining to honor and remember all four of these lives lost,” Washington said, “we can build the foundation for the dialogue that will restore peace and help to unify our community.”
Carter and Washington said the words of one of the slain officers eloquently express the commitment to a better Baton Rouge that they feel now. After the Sterling shooting, Officer Jackson posted this Facebook message: “I personally want to send prayers out to everyone directly affected by this tragedy. These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better. I’m working in these streets so any protesters, officers, friends, family or whoever, if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer, I got you.”