CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Members of the Laramie Human Rights Network say that the Laramie Police Department’s footage of an altercation between protestors and law enforcement on September 23rd, 2020, shows “the violent and discriminatory practices” Laramie police officers employ.
The Laramie Human Rights Network, otherwise known as LHRN, calls itself a grassroots movement invested in promoting social, racial, and criminal justice in Laramie and across Wyoming.
According to the organization’s website, LHRN was formed in June of 2020 as protests and demonstrations cropped up around the country to stand in solidarity against police violence, particularly the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Article continues below...
On September 24th, officials with the Laramie Police Department released drone and bodycam footage that showed officers making an arrest during the September 23rd protest in downtown Laramie that was organized by members of the LHRN.
The Laramie Police Department said that the protester was arrested after having been warned four separate times over an 8-block span to remain out of the street where she was impeding traffic.
LHRN alleged via a Facebook that the video released by authorities demonstrated how officers specifically chose to arrest the one person of color out of a group of white people who were protesting at the time.
“These are blatantly racist practices and are wonderfully showcased by your filmography and we appreciate you showing the community,” the LHRN stated on Facebook.
LHRN protest organizers alleged this was the second time a person of color had been targeted by arrest by Laramie police in the last month during a protest.
The same video footage released by the LPD later shows another protester being struck by an LPD vehicle as it attempted to leave the scene following the arrest. On September 24th, the LPD stated that while that arrest was being made, several demonstrators were crowding around a police vehicle parked on Grand Avenue.
“While officers attempted to clear a path for the emergency vehicles to exit, another demonstrator entered the path of the vehicle and was struck,” the LPD said.
On Facebook, the LHRN disputed the Laramie Police Department’s depiction of what happened when their emergency vehicle attempted to leave the scene.
“As you can see, the individual that was hit only entered the path of the vehicle because your officer directed them to the sidewalk. Beyond that, the officer giving instructions was also struck by the vehicle which is clearly visible in your footage,” LHRN organizers stated to police.
In a separate post on Facebook, the LRHN posted their own video showing another view of the arrest of the individual by Laramie law enforcement and the subsequent moment when an LPD police vehicle struck a protester as it tried to pull away.
Laramie police said a citation was being issued to the demonstrator who was struck by the police vehicle for obstructing traffic.
The LHRN countered that by stating, “The individual that was hit received a citation for jaywalking, not traffic obstruction, though we understand your interest in making it seem like they were committing an actual crime. It’s also worth noting that the citation was only given after the individual chose to file a complaint, long after the alleged jaywalking occurred.”
The grassroots protest group went on to say that if a community member would have hit someone with their car, they believe it would have been considered aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
All of those cited or arrested are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law. Charges are subject to change following official filings from the prosecuting office.