Outrage after video captures white Baton Rouge police officer fatally shooting a black man


#1

A video surfaced yesterday of two Baton Rouge police officers physically restraining a Black man named Alton Sterling, who was selling CDs outside a convenience store. They tased him, forced him to the ground, and shot him at point-blank range. He died at the scene. The New Orleans Advocate reports that the local coroner said a preliminary autopsy indicated Sterling died due to a homicide caused by multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back.

The officers claim that Sterling had a gun, but, if he did, it appears it remained in his pocket while he was killed. And Louisiana is a conceal carry state.

As has been the case dozens of times before, witnesses to the shooting fundamentally contradict the immediate police account of the killing. The two officers involved “have been put on paid administrative leave, though it’s believed that only one fired his weapon. …The officers were wearing body cameras, but they came loose during the incident and were dangling from their uniforms.”

It’s important the video exists, even though watching it may be upsetting for people who are reeling from another deadly incident of police violence against a Black person.

My condolences to Sterling’s family, friends, and immediate community—and to my Black sisters and brothers who may once again be left feeling unsafe and devalued by our communities and our country. I take up space in solidarity with people who are angry and people who are grieving. I am angry and grieving, too.

Alton Sterling was a human being who did not deserve to be killed by police. No matter what anyone tries to say about him, or about the cop(s) who killed him, that will always be true.


#2

How horrible. Thankfully they blocked out the gore in the video. That was far more shocking than I expected. In the words of Phil Ochs:

Farewell to the gangsters we don’t need them anymore
We’ve got the police force, they’re the ones who break the law
He’s got a gun and he’s a hater
He shoots first, he shoots later
I am the masculine American man
I kill therefore I am.


#3

Based on the video these officers should be charged with Murder


#4

Yeah I don’t see any way around that based on what’s been presented in both the video and the store owner’s account. They had the guy on the ground immobilized and they shot him 4 times in the chest point blank?! And of course the officer’s body cams conveniently “fell off” according to the police department.


#5

In 2006 the FBI warned about the white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement. I’m thinking that they were correct and were roundly ignored.

thegrio.com/2015/05/12/fbi-white-supremacists-law-enforcement/


#6

There is another article that notes that if Sterling had a gun, it was possessed illegally

It’s unclear how Sterling obtained the weapon. His rap sheet dates back two decades with several drug, firearm, theft and assault arrests. He was sentenced to five years to prison for marijuana and weapon possession in 2009, the Advocate reported.

nydailynews.com/news/national/la-cops-shoot-kill-man-selling-music-baton-rouge-store-article-1.2700548

It seems there were surveillance cameras in place. I hope that they can add clarity to the situation.

Eternal Rest to him, O Lord, and may perpetual Light shine upon him. In the matter of his death, may Justice reign.


#7

The indictment of the officer who shoot him is premature. I do not think anyone has suggested the gun was planted. Even the owner said he had a gun, though he said it was in the man’s pocket. The initial caller said he had a gun and been threatened. If he was armed, as seems to be the case, and if he refused to obey the orders given to insure everyone’s safety, I doubt there can be any criminal action on the part of the officer who shot him. Depending exactly on where the place the gun, it may be a completely justified act of self-defense. Police are under no obligation to be shot at first by an armed gunman and only then return fire.

In any case, I only see one officer here that might be in the wrong, which is a good thing. There is no incentive for the one that didn’t fire to lie to protect himself.

Yes, body cameras can fall off. This was one of the criticisms back when there was a rush to put them on every officer. They are a great idea, but an officer cannot worry about cinematography when struggling with a suspect.


#8

Op-eds are not a good source for factual information. Ditto special interest “news” sites. In any case, this is off the topic as there is no indication that any of that is in play here. Posting this makes as much sense as posting some special interest journal about black street gangs.


#9

Question, did you watch the video?


#10

I watched the cell phone video. Yes. The other has not been released.

FYI - I read Louisiana has asked the DOJ to take lead in the investigation.

He was on the ground. He did not seem to be immobilized. There is some movement. If his hands were under him, which I could not tell, then that would present a danger, especially if the one officer who shouted he had a gun, saw a gun.

Okay, I watched it again. He was moving and not immobilized. His right side is obscured under the car. The owner was not visible anywhere he would have had line of sight, so his location also needs to be determined. If he was inside the store, as one would think, he would have no line of sight.


#11

Thank you for this. My deepest condolences and prayers as well to his family, friends and community. 5 children are now left fatherless due to yet another senseless, unnecessary killing by police. My spirit joins you in taking up space with the angry and the grieving. My heart weeps as Jesus wept.


#12

They link to the FBI document in the article.

It’s another black man killed in cold blood by cops. I think it’s relevant.


#13

The Justice Dept has opened a Civil Rights investigation into the shooting.

gawker.com/justice-department-opens-civil-rights-investigation-int-1783203566

The FBI, US Attorney and Justice Dept are jointly going to run the investigation.


#14

Thank God. That’s how all police shootings should be handled. Too many good ol’ boy networks out there.


#15

For those who can’t or don’t want to see the video, the link provided a transcript of it:

The cellphone video of the incident began with police standing a few feet from Sterling. A loud pop — like that of a stun gun — can be heard.

“Get on the ground!” a police officer yelled.

“Get on the ground!” the voice yelled again, followed by a second pop.

Sterling, a large man, remained on his feet.

A police officer tackled him over the hood of a silver car, then onto the ground.

Meanwhile, another restrained his left arm behind his back and knelt on it.

“He’s got a gun!” someone yelled.

“Gun! Gun!”

Both officers drew their pistols from their holsters. In the video, Sterling appeared to be fairly immobile.

Then, the officers shouted something unintelligible, which seemed to include the phrase “going for the gun.”

Two noises that sounded like shots rang out immediately after.

Whoever filmed the video then dropped the cellphone.

“Oh, s—,” someone said.

Three more shot-like sounds rang out.

“They shot him?”

“Yes.”

I’m with pnewton; I’d need to see the additional security camera footage before making any judgments. Praying for Alton and officers


#16

This is a very prejudiced remark, as in pre-judging. According to the Golden Rule, are you willing to be judged rashly by others? It is also a factual impossibility as it was initiated by an outside call and therefore could not have been premeditated. There is zero evidence that the police knew this man beforehand.

If we are to denounce prejudice, we must not ourselves be prejudiced. If we are to fight racism, we must not be racist.


#17

I pulled up the severely redacted document. It does not say what the article says. Here is the link.
s3.documentcloud.org/documents/402521/doc-26-white-supremacist-infiltration.pdf

It says that* historically *White Supremacists have infiltrated law enforcement. It says this is a “concern”. There is really little there. In light of the danger of institutionalized racism, I do not see infiltration as nearly as big of a threat.

No presidential candidate has a monopoly on fear-mongering. We should take editorials from people with an agenda with a grain of salt.


#18

Two things about my view on the transcript. First, he was only “fairly” immobile. He still moved quite a bit, enough to constitute a threat. Two, this has the bad language redacted out of. At least one officer used very bad language. Their verbal skills were one dimensional.


#19

Rather than falling all over myself and others to rush to judgment against the officer or the deceased, I will instead offer prayers for the repose of the man’s soul, comfort for his mourners, peace for the officer, and the community.


#20

Were you there? Do you know all of the facts? Do you know the legal requirements for the use of deadly force? Do you know the perceptions in the officers’ minds? Do you know what was said? Why does race matter, unless you desire it to matter? Are you accusing white officers solely because they are white? Isn’t that racist in itself? (Think about it) Or, are your emotions once again being manipulated by a biased, for-profit media?

Virtually all of the fatal incidents of recent times, when examined in excruciating detail have been found to be justified. Instead of whipping yourself into a frenzy, why not pray for all involved and wait for all of the facts to come out?


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