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The Family Of Trayford Pellerin Is Pushing For The Release Of Body Camera Footage

Trayford Pellerin's funeral took place on Sept. 10 at the Philadelphia Christian Church in Lafayette.

The family of Trayford Pellerin, a Black man killed by Lafayette police, is pressing a federal court to allow the release of police body camera footage.

Pellerin was shot to death by police outside a gas station on Aug. 21. The case sparked national outrage and has led to ongoing protests in Lafayette.

A judge granted a temporary restraining order on Tuesday that prevents the family and others from seeing the footage or receiving information about the case from local authorities. The order was filed by the Police Association. The temporary restraining order prevents officers involved in the shooting from being identified.

Ronald Haley, a lawyer for Pellerin’s family, said the family is filing a petition with the judge to intervene in a hearing on the restraining order set for Sept. 15.

Accounts of the shooting from state and local police differ with evidence from an independent autopsy commissioned by Pellerin’s family. Lafayette police said officers first used a Taser before shooting Pellerin, and state police investigating the case said Pellerin had a knife. The independent autopsy found Pellerin was shot in the back 10 times and found no evidence that a taser was used.

A bystander video shows police surrounding Pellerin and shooting him. The investigation is ongoing and the coroner’s report has not been released.

Mourners gathered at the Philadelphia Christian Church in Lafayette for Pellerin’s funeral on Thursday, which was live-streamed on social media. Among the speakers was Rev. Al Sharpton, who brought the church to its feet.

“The same God that stood with Rosa Parks, the same God that stood with Martin Luther King, the same God that stood with Obama is still on the throne,” he thundered, “and that same God wants justice for Tray!”

Haley said the service provided some comfort for Pellerin’s family.

“The community came out and put their arms around the family. It was an overwhelming amount of support,” he said.

But speakers also called for answers in Pellerin’s death.

“The message is this has to stop,” Haley said. “This has to stop. The truth needs to come out. And the biggest piece of the truth that could come out in the Pellerin case is the body cam footage.”

Rosemary Westwood is the public and reproductive health reporter for WWNO/WRKF. She was previously a freelance writer specializing in gender and reproductive rights, a radio producer, columnist, magazine writer and podcast host.

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