LAFAYETTE, La. — (KLFY) Recall petitions are being launched against several Acadiana public officials.
The Village 337 and New Black Panther Party are advocating for recall petitions for a police chief, a sheriff, a judge, and a city alderman They are teaming up with people in two cities and four parishes.
“We’re not standing against anyone. We’re here asking why everyone is not here standing alongside us,” expressed Kalif Cormier, The Village 337 Co-President at the Gethsemane Community Center Tuesday conference in Lafayette.
For four men the nonprofit Village 337 says now is too late. Their first recall is against Baldwin Police Chief Harry Smith. The town’s mayor said the police chief has been absent from sight for 9 months, including when 15-year-old Quawan Charles went missing and was later found dead.
Recallers call him negligent. Chief Harris refutes that, saying he’s worked even when no one else could with the department for 30 years.
“I’m not hard to find. I’m a phone call away,” Baldwin Police Chief Harry Smith Jr. told News 10. “I might not return your phone call right then and there, but I’m definitely going to return a phone call.”
Devon Norman, The Village 337 Co-President said of Chief Harris, “I don’t want to hear any of his excuses, and the media shouldn’t even be putting them out because they’re ridiculous.”
The group also wants 16th Judicial District Attorney Bo Duhe recalled for not pressing charges against the family Charles left his house with.
Next, the groups claim Acadia Parish Sheriff KP Gibson has ignored concerns over inmates’ rights and an arrest with the injury of Troy Yokum.
“What we know is happening in Acadia Parish is brothers and sisters are being beaten, brutalized and tortured,” alleged Norman.
But Gibson reviewed the Yokum arrest saying his “deputies on the scene followed policy and handled themselves properly”.
Lastly, they want the recall of Crowley Alderman Lyle Fogleman who was caught on camera making a throat slicing gesture toward protestors attending a council meeting.
Responding to criticism afterward Fogleman said, “They can interpret my gesture however they choose but my gesture was enough implying enough people. Go home.”
Cormier called it a threat to democracy, “I say that him saying that he did not mean I was trying to kill anyone or harm anyone, he was trying to harm everyone by telling us to be silent.”
Doorknocking and marches for the petitions will take place November 22 in Baldwin and the 24 in Crowley. The organizers believe a recall in Baldwin will bring momentum to their other efforts.
“We believe in freedom or death, and we’ve got enough, so until we get some justice, we’re on the ground,” emphasized Corey Rubin, New Black Panther Party Minister of Defense for the Lafayette Chapter.
Upcoming events for the two groups are not just limited to Acadiana. They will be at the Governor’s mansion on November 28.