BATON ROUGE, La. — In November 2016, after a series of unconstitutional law enforcement reactions to protest over the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, law enforcement entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with five organizations that filed suit regarding the treatment of peaceful protesters.

The Baton Rouge Police Department, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana State Police, and the City of Baton entered into an agreement, filed in court records, guaranteeing their commitment to the First Amendment rights of everyone, a commitment to use only the level of force objectively reasonable to bring an incident under control and only arrest those who they have reasonable belief to have violated the law, and commit to de-escalation. A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding is attached.

Ada Goodly, a Baton Rouge activist and co-coordinator of the legal support team with the National Lawyers Guild said “The residents of Baton Rouge call on all law enforcement agencies to abide by the Memorandum of Understanding and the restraint agreed to by them last summer so communities feel safe engaging in First Amendment-protected activities. While the city is wrought with uncertainty, many groups have organized to call for the termination of Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, and demand transparency in the coming investigation, beginning with the appointment of an Independent Special Prosecutor to pursue state charges against the officers.” “As the community continues to mourn the killing of Alton Sterling and anticipates the report on the circumstances of his death, we encourage law enforcement to remember the commitments set out in this agreement,” said Marjorie R. Esman, ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director. The Baton Rouge community needs healing, and honoring the rights of everyone in the community will aid in that process.”

The five organizations that sued are as follows: North Baton Rouge Matters (NBRM); BYP100-New Orleans; New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ); The Louisiana Chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild (LA-NLG); and The ACLU of Louisiana. Those organizations are parties to the agreement with Baton Rouge law enforcement.

Anyone who witnesses arrests of demonstrators is encouraged to call the Baton Rouge Legal Hotline number operated by the Louisiana Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild at 225-217-3830.

Know Your Rights (Feb 2017)

For Printable PDF, Click Here   Law enforcement commits to de-escalating contentious situations. Law enforcement commits to ensure use of traditional public forums for all persons in a manner safe for all. Public streets, sidewalks, and parks are recognized as “traditional public forums.” All persons have the right to assemble and engage in public for… Continue reading Know Your Rights (Feb 2017)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 29, 2016 CONTACT: Crystal Williams, North Baton Rouge Matters – 713-446-3783 May Nguyen, Louisiana Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild Marjorie Esman, ACLU of Louisiana 504-522-0617 Sima Atri, New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice and Co-counsel for the Plaintiffs   – / 504-264-4209    BATON ROUGE, La. —… Continue reading

Bail Fund Update (10/1/2016)

Since the murder of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge this year, the NLG quickly mobilized and organized its members who have been trained over the years to provide movement support to create the necessary facets of movement legal support for activists on the ground.  The NLG has operated a 24/7 legal hotline, trained and coordinated Legal… Continue reading Bail Fund Update (10/1/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 17, 2016 Baton Rouge community to prioritizes safety Today in Baton Rouge, we are yet again experiencing the sense of insecurity and fear that follows when police officers are killed.  We currently have limited information about the shooting, and as such believe it would be irresponsible to comment.  Within the next… Continue reading

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3:00pm, July 13, 2016 Almost everyone arrested at the #BlackLivesMatter actions in Baton Rouge to protest the killing of Alton Sterling has been bonded out of jail thanks to the dedication of families, the broader Baton Rouge community, hundreds of legal volunteers, and thousands of supporters. Over 5,200 people from around the… Continue reading

Louisiana Police Violently Violate Constitutional Rights of Civilians Gathering Peacefully to Protest the Murder of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge (7/11/2016)

Media Advisory for Monday July 11, 2016 Contact: Tracie Washington,, 504-478-7009 “WE WANTED TO BE SURE THAT PEOPLE WERE ABLE TO ENGAGE IN FIRST AMENDMENT ACTIVITY AND WERE INSTEAD MET BY AGGRESSIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT” On Sunday thousands of protestors gathered in Baton Rouge to peacefully protest the killing of Alton Sterling by the Baton Rouge Parish Police Department.… Continue reading Louisiana Police Violently Violate Constitutional Rights of Civilians Gathering Peacefully to Protest the Murder of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge (7/11/2016)