Police are investigating the murder of a black man who was shot and killed while panhandling outside of a Baton Rouge Trader Joe’s over the weekend.
Authorities have issued a warrant for 24-year-old Jace Boyd, who is a white man, in connection to the fatal shooting of 61-year-old Danny Buckley, who was asking for money in the grocery store’s parking lot on Saturday night. According to the attorney’s representing the Buckley family, the man who was well known in the community was unarmed and disabled due to pre-existing health conditions.
“This is an assault, in my opinion, on the poor just as much as this is an assault on race,” said Ron Haley, one of the Buckley family’s attorneys.
According to a white woman, who only wanted to be identified as “Kaylee,” the murder took place after Buckley asked her for help in the parking lot. After walking away from Buckley with her roommate, she heard Boyd telling Buckley to leave the women alone. Then she heard gunfire. Kaylee explained to the attorneys that she attempted to tell the police what had taken place right away but was brushed off. The woman contacted police again the following day and was able to provide a statement. Kaylee said that Buckley did not make her feel threatened in an interview with WAFB.
Ryan Thompson, the other attorney for Buckley’s family, compared the killing to the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was murdered in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman.
“In the South, in America, it is known that you do not talk to white women if you’re a Black male,” Thompson said. “That was his crime.”
To make matters worse, once officers arrived at the scene and Boyd “advised that he shot Buckley,” he was not immediately taken into custody. Instead, police questioned Boyd and released him. They seemingly tried to justify the shooting by writing in their report that Buckley was “aggressively harassing customers.” Buckley suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen and died shortly thereafter at a local hospital.
According to a statement from the Baton Rouge Police Department, Boyd has since been charged with second-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon. He maintains that he acted in self-defense, as he and his wife felt threatened by the disabled man.