It was 45 years ago, before cell phones and police body cams that the family of Kenneth Ray Sampson mourned the death of their son, brother, and uncle. He was unarmed, murdered by West Monroe Police and the grieving mother was paid off by the City of West Monroe to keep silent. Now, 45 years later, the twin still hurts. This is Faye Sampson’s story.
By Faye Sampson
The killing of Blacks by the hands of police officers across the country is way too familiar. The most recent killings have stirred up painful memories of my family’s tragedy that occurred in West Monroe, Louisiana. many years ago.
The pain and suffering and many nightmares over the past 45 years of my twin brother’s death have led me to share my story. On Thursday, August 14, 1975, around 8:30 P.M. my twin brother Kenneth Ray Sampson, (AKA Ray) was shot and killed by an off duty police officer (the officer was African American) This incident occurred approximately three months after Ray’s 21st birthday. Ray was a prankster, had a good sense of humor, and strived to create unity.
He had just recently received an Honorable Discharged from the United States Army and was making plans to relocate to Seattle, Washington two weeks prior his death, to unite with several of his siblings, and from there enlist in the United States Air force, to follow my Brother, Learthes’s (AKA Leechie) footsteps. My life, nor my family’s lives have been the same since that dreadful night. I will provide a brief summary of the incident.
The Beginning Of A Family’s Lifelong Nightmare
While patrolling the area, an off duty officer’s partner (also African American) observed a commotion taking place in the parking lot of Brown Gable store & café. Brown Gable was located in West Monroe, on the corner of Benson and North St. 7th. The off duty officer was visiting relatives who live two houses from Brown Gable, being in eyesight of the commotion he walked over to the scene.
Upon Ray’s arrival at Brown Gable, he saw the commotion, being the peacemaker that he was, Ray made an attempt to defuse the confrontation by pleading with the parties involved to leave before it got out of hand.
Ray continue to heartily beg the parties by saying, “just leave,” after realizing that his efforts were futile, disappointed, and frustrated, Ray said “f**k it,” and pro…