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police killing of Black man sparks outrage and protests

Family says Trayford Pellerin may have been having a mental health crisiswhile police say Pellerin had a knife and was trying to enter store

The mother of a man shot dead by Louisiana police on Friday night said her son was intelligent, shy and had sought therapy for social anxiety. Her lawyers said they plan to sue over the death of Trayford Pellerin, who police said had a knife and was trying to enter a convenience store.

The shooting was captured on video, and the state American Civil Liberties Union condemned what it described as a “horrific and deadly incident of police violence against a Black person”. Both the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) called for an investigation.

Protesters gathered on Saturday. Officers in riot gear fired smoke canisters to get the crowd to disperse, Trooper Derek Senegal said. No teargas was deployed, he said. At a news conference on Saturday, local officials said the protest began peacefully but violence erupted with fireworks shot at buildings and fires set in the median of the road.

“Our intent is not going to be to just let people disrupt our town and put our citizens and our motorists and our neighborhoods in danger,” Lafayette interim police chief Scott Morgan said, adding that arrests were made.

“We do support people’s first amendment rights,” Lafayette parish sheriff Mark Garber said. “However, when it comes to the destruction of property, we are not going to have Lafayette set on fire.”

On Friday night, Lafayette officers followed Pellerin, 31, on foot as he left a convenience store where he had created a disturbance with a knife, Louisiana state police said. Stun guns failed to stop him, and the officers shot Pellerin as he tried to enter another convenience store, still with the knife, according to a news release.

Pellerin became anxious in groups and may have been frightened by the officers, Michelle Pellerin told the Advocate. He had sought professional help earlier this year, she said.

“Instead of giving him a helping hand they gave him bullets,” national civil rights attorney Ben Crump told the paper. He and Baton Rouge attorney Ronald Haley said they had begun their own investigation. Some witnesses said Pellerin was not armed, Haley said.

The family believes Pellerin may have been having a mental health crisis, Crump said.

Lafayette police asked state police to investigate –…

Guardian staff reporter

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