JENNINGS, LA (KPLC-TV) – Two classified hate groups could demonstrate in Jennings in the very near future.
Members of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) and the Ku Klux Klan have both signaled intentions to hold some type of public protest in Jennings.
It all stems from the firing of a black man, who according to the New Black Panthers, was wrongfully terminated for sexual harassment of a white female worker at Jennings American Legion Hospital. The man did not work for the hospital, but was employed by another company that does business with the hospital, according to the NBPP. The group claims the man was simply joking with the woman. Now they want the man hired back.
Members of the NBPP visited Jennings last week to discuss the firing with local officials. According to the group, Jeff Davis Sheriff Ricky Edwards avoided them for three days, while Jeff Davis District Attorney Michael Cassidy was disrespectful to them.
"If the district attorney would have talked to me like a man, like the chief [did], the problem would have been solved," said regional NBPP leader Joe Lawrence.
Lawrence said D.A. Cassidy threatened him and told him he would have members of the NBPP arrested if they had guns during the protest.
As a result of their treatment, NBPP members threatened to protest outside of the hospital. On Friday, the NBPP said they received a certified letter from hospital attorneys asking to meet with the group to hear their concerns.
The NBPP said they plan on meeting with hospital attorneys, but will still not rule out a protest. They said it all depends on how the meeting goes.
According to the Jennings Daily News, local chapters of the Ku Klux Klan said they would hold public demonstrations on Monday, April 5th in response to the NBPP.
Jennings Police Chief Johnny Lassiter said both groups are free to hold public demonstrations providing they get the proper permits. Lassiter also said if members in either group carried guns during the demonstrations, they would be arrested.
Chief Lassiter also said residents in Jennings should not worry about their safety, explaining his department would have support for any protest from both the sheriff's department and state police.
The NBPP said as many as 250 members may show up for a demonstration.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, both the KKK and the NBPP are identified as hate groups.