Community leaders call for boycott of Baton Rouge’s malls, Walmarts in wake of Alton Sterling shooting

    Local community and state religious leaders called today for an economic boycott of the Mall of Louisiana, Cortana Mall and all local Walmarts for three days in the wake of the Alton Sterling shooting earlier this week.

    The Rev. Reginald Pitcher, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Louisiana chapter, advocated for a three-day “selective buying campaign” aimed at pressuring Baton Rouge leaders to take action against two city police officers implicated in the Tuesday morning fatal shooting of Sterling, 37, in front of the Triple S Food Mart on North Foster Drive.

    Pitcher, surrounded by members of the Nation of Islam and local community leaders, said they want the officers implicated in the shooting—Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II—arrested and charged with murder.

    “Until we get justice, we’re going to call on all of the people … any person who loves justice to stand with us in this selective buying campaign and hurt them where it hurts the most, get their attention where it gets their attention the most,” Pitcher said.

    “And I declare that if we do that, the Chamber of Commerce will say this, ‘If we got to sacrifice those two to keep the peace, then so be it,’” Pitcher added.

    Attempts to reach Jacob Wilson, general manager of the Mall of Louisiana, and representatives of Moonbeam Leasing & Management, which owns and operates Cortana Mall, were unsuccessful before this afternoon’s deadline.

    Adam Knapp, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, says in a statement that the chamber and its membership “have been deeply saddened” by the shooting and “share the faith community’s urgent call for unity that brings our community together.”

    “As our community moves forward, business leaders share the obligation to engage with humility, to work constructively toward healing a community so often divided by race and racism, economic inequity, and access to opportunity,” Knapp adds.

    —Ryan Broussard

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