The attorney of former mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter filed, last week, a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice, claiming that the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office was intimidating elderly and/or disabled black voters in an attempt to “suppress the Black vote.”
Ronald R. Johnson and Associates filed the complaint and reported “violations of the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts against Elderly and/or disabled Black citizens of the City of Poer Allen who attempted to ‘Absentee by Mail and EarlyVoting,’” on April 2, just days before the vote that saw Richard Lee III elected as mayor by popular vote.
In the document, Johnson claimed that “most, if not all of the elderly and/or disabled black voters” whom had used the absentee voting procedures in years passed “are now having their signatures questioned by the Registrar of Voters.”
Johnson also claimed that detectives from the WBR Sheriff’s Office made public statements to media that WBRSO was conducting a voter fraud investigation aimed at his client, Slaughter, “without any documentation or information to support their statement.”
The filing went on to say that the sheriff’s office contacted several black voters questioning whether they had, indeed, signed a request for mail-in ballot form.
“Some were contacted on Sunday and some were asked if they had voted for my client,” the petition states. “The elderly and/or disabled voters have indicated that they felt (intimidated) and threatened and that it is the intent of the Sheriff office to suppress the Black vote. Some are afraid to return the voting ballot.”
Johnson went on to ask that the Dept. of Justice assign a federal monitor to investigate the violations, and to monitor the election itself, which took place April 5.
West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, Colonel Richie Johnson said, “We will not allow our criminal investigation to be under minded or dictated by any subversive tactics. If the Justice Department joins the investigation no, maybe it will save them a trip later.”
Johnson said that the voter fraud investigation remain ongoing.
“The investigation is gaining momentum, which would probably explain apprehensiveness on the part of anyone who may be involved with voter fraud in (the April 5) election,” Richie Johnson said.