St. Martin

Dec 10, 2012 11:21 PM by Maddie Garrett

Family of Teen Killed by Breaux Bridge Police Demanding Justice

A vigil and rally was held at Carl Williams Memorial Park in Breaux Bridge Monday night in support of teenager Daraneisha Harris, who was shot and killed by a Breaux Bridge Police officer a week ago.

Police said last Sunday Harris ran her vehicle into a Breaux Bridge police car, then backed up and hit a pedestrian and ran into another vehicle before crashing into a ditch on Landry Street. It was then that a police officer opened fire, killing Harris.

A week after her death, Harris' family and the community is demanding answers. They gathered with black leaders at the park Monday night, only a few blocks away from where Harris was shot. It was there that the supporters prayed and chanted for "justice for Daraneisha."

"We really believe that this was not justifiable what this police did (to) sister Harris. We believe the police used excessive force in murdering this young lady," said Reverend Raymond Brown at the gathering.

Rev. Brown was one of the many voices calling for justice Monday night. He said he does not think local authorities will conduct a fair investigation into the shooting of Harris. This, despite State Police's current investigation.

"The DA, the police chief, the State Police and the sheriff's department of this parish would not be good in doing this investigation," said Brown.

Harris' family also spoke out Monday night. Her uncle said "it wasn't right what happened that the cops shot my niece for no reason." Her brother, Darthaniel Lewis, also voiced his concerns.

"I think an outside investigation would be best for us because I'm pretty sure they might cover up some things, they might not tell us everything, try to hide some things to protect themselves," said Lewis.

Her brother said they simply want answers, even an acknowledgement from police.

"No, they (police) haven't came to the house, give any support, sympathy, sorry for the... accident that they did for brutally killing my sister," he said.

Throughout the gathering questions arose - could this shooting have been racially charged?

"So yes, race could have played a role, but we must do an investigation to see if race actually played a role," said Brown.

Lewis added, "Police are supposed to protect and serve the community, not kill people."

KATC reached out Monday to the Breaux Bridge Police Department for comment on the shooting and the protests of the police officer who was involved in the shooting. Assistant Police Chief Terry Latiolais said could not make any comment at this time.

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