Family and activists march to find out what caused the death of Quawan ‘Bobby’ Charles
Quawan 'Bobby' Charles went missing in Louisiana in October. His body was found on Nov. 2
What happened to Quawan “Bobby” Charles?
His family marched along with activists and community leaders to ask for more details in the investigation into the disappearance and gruesome death of the Black teenager in Louisiana.
There were about 100 people gathered in front of the former site of the Baldwin Police Department over the weekend, USA Today reports. Some of the signs they carried were “No justice, no peace” and “Stop killing our sons now.” The marchers then trekked to City Hall, the current location, to address their ire over the death of Charles, 15.
As theGrio previously reported, Charles reportedly left his home in Baldwin on Oct. 30 with a woman and her 17-year-old son. His body was discovered Nov. 2 in a sugarcane field by an Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office drone near Loreauville, located about 20 miles away. The family believes that the police did not take his disappearance seriously at first due to his race and no Amber alert was issued.
Attorney Chase Trichell who is representing the Charles family, called into question the narrative that has been put out there.
“We got a preliminary coroner’s report yesterday, which tells us that aquatic animals are the cause of the grotesque injuries of Quawan,” Trichell told the crowd. “Y’all buying that?” The crowd could be heard responding, “No!”
The family has been appreciative of the outpouring of support from the community and all around the country as the story has gained mainstream traction. Notable figures such as civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump and singer Beyoncé have used their platform to bring awareness to Charles’ death.
“We appreciate (the public) and thank them for supporting us and standing behind us because it could be anybody’s child,” Celina Charles, Bobby’s cousin, who is the family spokesperson. “His death has touched a lot of people.”
A photo of Charles in a body bag showed his badly disfigured face. He had a broken jaw and a gash on the left side of his forehead near his hairline as well as abrasions and swelling and parts of his lips were missing.
Comparisons were immediately drawn to the 1955 death of Emmett Till who was killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. His mother, Mamie Till made the decision to have an open-casket funeral to show the brutality inflicted on her son, and the Charles family has similarly made the picture of Charles’ remains public.
“We want cooperation. The family needs the details. They need to know where they’re at in the steps of the investigation,” Jamal Taylor, an activist with the Village 337 told USA Today. “That mom deserves truth.”
The Iberia Parish Coroner claimed that Charles most likely died from drowning and that his injuries were consistent with that. However, the family is commissioning an independent autopsy and a $5K reward is being offered to anyone with information.
“All we want is justice, and your support really matters to us, so thank you,” Jason Nelson, Quawan’s stepfather told the activists who gathered to demonstrate on behalf of his son, according to multiple reports.
The American Civil Liberties Union has echoed the sentiment of the family for an independent inquiry. “The disrespect and lack of transparency demonstrated by local officials in response to Bobby’s tragic and suspicious death is unacceptable,” Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, said in a statement. “We join the family in demanding a full and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Bobby’s death.”
The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office stated in a press release Saturday that “no stone is left unturned in an effort to find the truth.” The police department further declared that Charles’ death was treated as a homicide at first and that investigators are “aggressively gathering evidence.”
There is another rally planned on Nov. 28 in front of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards mansion in Baton Rouge to convince him to do more in the case.
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