In Baton Rouge, Lousiana -- site of the controversial killing of Alton Sterling by police on July 5 -- three African-American suspects have been accused of plotting to harm police after being arrested July 9 for stealing eight handguns and a BB gun from Cash America Pawn.
The alleged plot was revealed by Baton Rouge police Chief Carl Dabadie in a press conference. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson referred to it as a "substantial, credible threat" to police, reports the Daily Mail.
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana State Police, and the ATF are all investigating the matter.
The suspects reportedly confessed to the alleged plot. One of them, 17-year-old Antonio Thomas, said that he and three other suspects stole the firearms and “were going to get bullets to shoot police,” according to authorities.
The other arrested suspects are Malik Bridgewater, 20, and a 13-old boy whose name has not been released. A fourth suspect remains at large.
Each suspect faces charges including burglary, simple burglary, and theft of a firearm, but have not been charged with the alleged plot.
Another man, 23-year-old Trashone Coats, was arrested for purchasing two of the stolen guns illegally on the street, but he hasn't been linked to the alleged plot, according to a police spokesperson.
Since the shooting of Sterling by Baton Rouge police, the department has come under heavy criticism for the way it has handled the subsequent protests.
Some 200 protesters were arrested over a three-day period by police armed with batons, long guns and other riot gear, including military-style vehicles.
The ACLU of Louisiana has condemned the “violent, militarized tactics on groups of people who have gathered peacefully,” the Daily Mail reports.
Even Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the world’s leading human rights organization, has singled out Louisiana for its alleged policing abuses. On July 6, it issued a press release with the statement: “According to international law, lethal force must only be used as an absolute last resort to prevent death or serious injury. Laws in Louisiana, and across the country, must be brought into line with international standards.”
In a report issued in June 2015, AIUSA said: “There is a widespread and persistent problem of unnecessary or excessive force by police in the United States.”
Citing The UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, AIUSA expressed concern that “state laws on the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers do not comply with international standards and is calling on all states to review and revise their use of lethal force statutes in line with those standards.”