UPDATE: Jace Boyd was taken into custody on Thursday, August 27 by the Baton Rouge Police Department.

NEW ORLEANS – Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, made the following statement about investigators’ initial decision to release Jace Boyd, a white man who admitted to fatally shooting Danny Buckley, a Black panhandler, outside a Louisiana Trader Joe’s: 

“Police officers spend a lot of time defending the violence they perpetrate against Black people – but it is how they treat white people that says just as much about the state of policing in America today. While Black men like Jacob Blake are shot in the back for threats that are merely perceived, white men like Kyle Rittenhouse and Jace Boyd can gun people down in the street and still be treated with dignity and respect by law enforcement. There is not a shadow of a doubt that if Jace Boyd were Black, he would not have been respectfully questioned and then released by investigators. These incidents clearly demonstrate the inherent racism of policing, and wholly discredit arguments that we cannot reform policing without compromising public safety. Right now we have two systems of justice in America and it is making all of us less safe. Equal justice under the law will continue to be a myth until America can reckon with and root out the endemic racism that treats Black lives like they don’t matter.”

According to The Advocate, Boyd “acknowledged shooting Danny Buckley, 61, on Saturday night. Officers contacted Boyd on the scene and later interviewed him about the shooting but did not arrest him, pending a further investigation.”

The ACLU of Louisiana’s report Justice Can’t Wait showed that Black Louisianans are more than twice as likely to be jailed awaiting trial than white Louisianans, and spend far longer in jail than their white counterparts.