Author speaks out against police brutality


Raine Zhu

Dr. Loretta Prater (right) gives a presentation at Buzzard Auditorium on Wednesday evening.

Bailey Chandler, Contributing Writer

After the death of her unarmed son, Loretta Prater is determined to fight for justice for those who are also victims to brutal attacks of police force.

Buzzard Hall auditorium filled with people ready to hear a presentation given by Prater, a former Eastern employee and author of the book “Excessive Use of Force: One Mother’s Struggle Against Police Brutality and Misconduct,” on Wednesday afternoon.

Prater said in January of 2004, her son, Leslie Prater, was brutally murdered by four police officers while being unarmed in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

She said justice was never fully reached since the Chattanooga Police Department determined that her son’s death was not the responsibility of the officers involved. Eventually, the Prater family took a settlement to end their fight against the Chattanooga Police Department.

She said this did not end their fight against the wrongful doing and brutal attacks of unarmed men by police force, so she took her educational background and used it as a platform to help serve others who have been involved in similar situations.

Linda Simpson, one of Prater’s colleagues and friends, said she read the book shortly after it was published.

“It was disturbing for me to read the pain she went through,” Simpson said.

In her presentation, Prater discussed that her goal is to help as many people as she can because sometimes justice does not get served.

She said she is also currently traveling and giving presentations like this one over her book.

Within Prater’s book is information about her own story and other similar stories of men who have lost their lives.

Stephanie Blessmen, a graduate student in attendance, said one thing that stood out in Prater’s presentation was that certain chapters of her book had to be taken out because the book would not have sold as well.

“That can relate to life, too,” Blessmen said. “You can try to forget about things, but they’ll never fully be gone.”

Prater discussed possibly writing another book involving some of the chapters that were not in her current book.

Graduate student Josey Fiorett said she thought a lot of people could relate to Prater’s presentation.

“Dr. Prater really knows how to put her feelings into words,” Fiorett said. “She expressed what so many people have felt or gone through.”

Bailey Chandler can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].