I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My family is from the Scotlandville area, and I grew up here at schools like Broadmoor High, Baton Rouge High, McKinley Middle Magnet School, and Crestworth Elementary. I have been involved in this community my entire life. When I was younger, I was heavily involved with our local chapter of Kappa League. Through Kappa League, I volunteered in programs that gave back—helping people figure out how to pay their bills, teaching life skills like how to safely install car seats and learning from experts in industry and academia about marketing, management, and business skills.
When Alton Sterling was killed, it really impacted our community, but people were not protesting seriously—they would be out drinking instead of a real protest. A group of us got together with activists from Ferguson and Washington D.C. to organize a protest. Over the next few days, that is what we did. Things had gotten tense the day before I was attacked, but that day it seemed like the most relaxed day yet, because we had been following the rules and not had any major issues yet.
On July 9, we set up at the Circle K across the street from the police department. We had a few leaders from the local community present, including the mayor and local representatives. But once the leaders left, things changed. Police rushed out at us. We were set up maybe 300-400 feet from the door where the police came out of, so you could see them coming in a wave in full riot gear. They come at us with their shields, and I just hear, “Grab his ass!” They pulled me down to the ground, put me in zip cuffs, and beat me. An officer put his weight on my head. They punched me and scraped my face against the concrete. I heard one of them say, “You should have stayed home, n——.”
I remember the feeling of adrenaline but just not knowing what to say or do. When they brought me into the police station, I saw my face for the first time in my reflection in a window. I remember screaming, “Why did you do this to me?” The medic who came up to me to assess my injuries said that she noted in my file that one of the officers cut his hand hitting me, but I still have not seen the paperwork. The police tried to ignore my injuries, but because the jail would not process me in that condition, they finally allowed me to receive medical attention at Lanier Hospital.
I learned at the hospital that I had a fractured orbital, and to this day I cannot sleep certain ways, I cannot play with my sons like I used to – I also have vertigo, which my doctor suspects might be related to that night. It’s totally changed my personality—I used to be friendly and outgoing, but now I don’t like to be around crowds, and I stay home with my kids and my girlfriend. I want people to hear my story, because this is the kind of thing, I thought was history—something you read about in books or see in documentaries, but I never thought it would happen to me. I would like an apology because what happened wasn’t right. No one should be treated this way.