Baton Rouge Police Department has been caught on camera shooting and killing 37-year-old Alton Sterling at point-blank range while he was subdued.
- Police responded to a call regarding a man being threatened with a gun.
- Alton Sterling was shot and killed around 12:35 a.m. on July 5.
- Official medical examination reports that Sterling died of multiple gunshot wounds to the back and chest.
- Witnesses claim that Sterling was attempting to comply, while police claim he was reaching for either a gun in his pocket or their Taser.
- Alton Sterling is the 558th person to be killed by U.S. police in 2016.
- More than 200 people gathered in protest after the shooting.
Independence Day celebrations had begun to quiet down and it was soon just another night for Alton Sterling. He was selling CDs in front of his friend’s store like he had been doing for the last 6 years. Police arrived around 12:35 a.m. responding to a call about someone being threatened with a gun by a large man selling CDs.
Within minutes, Sterling was tackled and pinned to the ground by the two police officers. Then one officer pulled his gun and pressed it to Sterling’s back.
“If you f*cking move, I swear to God,” he yelled. Five seconds later the police officer leaned back and fired two bullets into Sterling’s back. Three more shots can be heard off camera. He died at the scene.
Baton Rouge Police Department released a statement via Facebook:
This shooting only adds to the tension over the deaths of African-American men at the hands of police.
Sterling was the 558th person to be killed by police in 2016. U.S. police killed 15 people in the first five days of July alone, more than police in most developed nations kill in an entire year.
Store owner and long-time friend of Sterling, Abdullah Muflahi described what he witnessed and claimed that police pulled a gun from Sterling’s pocket after he had been shot.
Another video: Abdullah Muflahi, owner of Triple S store, says officer killed his friend, Alton Sterling pic.twitter.com/xRDeNOBCSA
— Maya Lau (@mayalau) July 5, 2016
Just hours after the shooting more than 200 people protested at the scene, blocking traffic, chanting “f*ck the police,” and “Black lives matter”.
— Tha Celebritea News (@thacelebritea) July 6, 2016
The President has spoken about the shooting of Alton Sterling, as well as the shooting of Philando Castile, saying “I’d just ask folks to step back and think: What if this happened to somebody in your family? How would you feel? To be concerned about these issues is not political correctness, it’s just being American and wanting to live up to our best and highest ideals.”
The case of Alton Sterling evokes similar cases of 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was shot and killed within two seconds of police arriving on scene; and unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, Jr. In both cases the victims were unarmed and the police officers were not charged. Today they stand as stark examples of injustice.
Is this going to be another example? Does the U.S. have another “Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown” case on its hands?
And what’s wrong with the American criminal justice system when they continue to kill more people in days than other countries do in years?