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Deputy Sheriff Ralph Dwayne Wilder | East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana

Deputy Sheriff

Ralph Dwayne Wilder

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana

End of Watch: Monday, January 10, 1972

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 27

Tour: 4 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 1/10/1972

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Suspect: Apprehended

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Deputy Wilder and Deputy Ralph G. Hancock were shot and killed during a civil rights demonstration that turned into a riot in downtown Baton Rouge. Police converged on the demonstration when three newsmen were attacked. A single shot was fired from an unknown person followed by a fierce gun battle between demonstrators and police. Two minutes later when it was all over both Deputy Wilder and Deputy Hancock lay dead in the street. Two demonstrators were killed and 34 others were injured. Several suspects were arrested.

Eventually 13 suspects were charged in connection with Deputy Wilder's and Deputy Hancock's murder. On May 8, 1973, nine suspects were convicted of inciting to riot and participating in a riot in which death occurred. They were each sentenced to 21 years in prison. On March 31, 1975, the Louisiana Supreme Court overturned their convictions stating that they could not and did not receive a fair trial in Baton Rouge.

After the trial of the 13 suspects was over, the key witness in the trial received several death threats. On June 13, 1974, he was found shot to death outside his office in Baton Rouge.

Deputy Wilder had served with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office for 4 years.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Deputy Sheriff Ralph G. Hancock
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana
End of Watch: Monday, January 10, 1972
Cause: Gunfire

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Most Recent Reflection

To the family of Deputy Sheriff Ralph Dwayne Wilder,
I'm sorry that we have to share the same date of 1/10/'72 in such a way. Every time I think of my dad or attend a memorial I think about the events of that day and wonder how Deputy Wilder's family has been doing all these years. I seem to remember that his widow was holding their baby at a charity auction to raise money for our two families. I often wonder how they are doing. I actually met and work with the youngest son of Bob Johnson, a news journalist that was severely beaten near death on that day and remained disabled and bedridden until his passing last year. I have always been proud that my dad, Deputy Ralph Hancock, and Deputy Ralph Wilder served together and shared the same first name. God Bless your family and all who serve to protect us from the evil in this world.

Patrick Hancock
Son of Deputy Ralph G. Hancock
June 9, 2012

 

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