Louisiana Cemetery Refuses To Bury Black Deputy Because Of 'Whites-Only' Policy

"Wow, what a slap in the face," his widow, Karla Semien, stated.

A Louisiana cemetery barred the burial of a Black sheriff鈥檚 deputy last week because of its 鈥渨hites-only鈥 sales restriction.

The widow of Darrell Semien, who died last Sunday, was stunned to learn that Oaklin Springs Cemetery in Allen Parish had such a policy that dated back to a 1950s sales contract.

鈥淲ow what a slap in the face,鈥 Karla Semien wrote in a Facebook post:

Nearly a quarter of the residents in Allen Parish are Black.

When Karla Semien and her children went to the cemetery to pick out a plot, the saleswoman 鈥渏ust looked us cold in the face, and straight-up said, 鈥業 can鈥檛 sell you a plot,鈥欌 daughter Madison told local ABC affiliate KATC-3 TV.

The saleswoman also reportedly said that the graveyard was not for people of color.

鈥淚t鈥檚 a white human being-only cemetery,鈥 Madison鈥檚 sister Shayla said.

H. Creig Vizena, the board president of the cemetery, told The Associated Press that he was stunned to learn Semien was denied burial. He also said he had fired his 81-year-old aunt, the salesperson who had turned away the Semiens.

鈥淚鈥檓 still very ashamed of what happened,鈥 Vizena told KATC-3. 鈥淲ho wouldn鈥檛 be?鈥

According to KIRO-7 TV, the cemetery board held an emergency session Thursday evening and voted to jettison the whites-only restriction.

Vizena said he also apologized to Semien鈥檚 family and offered one of his own plots, but the family rejected his offer.

鈥淢y dad wasn鈥檛 any man, he was a phenomenal man,鈥 Shayla told KATC-3. 鈥淗e was a police officer in this same community for 15 years. He protected the same people that denied him a place to lay eternally because of the color of his skin.鈥


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