Mass Protests in Louisiana After Video Shows Officer Fatally Shooting Suspect Alton Sterling
Protests erupted Tuesday following the fatal shooting of a black man by police outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which was caught on cellphone video and circulated throughout social media.
Police responded to an anonymous call at 12:35 a.m. that a man selling CDs in the store’s parking lot had pointed a gun at an individual, Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said, according to The Advocate.
A 48-second long video taken by a witness shows police telling the man, 37-year-old Alton Sterling, to get on the ground outside the store. A second officer quickly tackles him to the ground. One of the officers yells, “He’s got a gun! Gun!” before apparently firing his weapon at Sterling.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. William Clark said preliminary results from the autopsy showed Sterling suffered two gunshot wounds to the chest and back, according to The Advocate.
According to a statement from the Baton Rouge Police Department, the two unidentified officers involved in the incident are on administrative leave in accordance with procedure.
Last night, demonstrators blocked the intersection near the convenience store and chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and, “Black lives matter.” One video posted on Twitter shows protesters jumping on cars while other vehicles block the street.
Protesters planned on another gathering at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning in front of City Hall.
Congressman Cedric Richmond released a statement questioning “initial calls for police presence, the level of force used by officers, the verbal and physical altercation, and the response of the officers after he was shot.”
“The video footage released today of the shooting of Alton Sterling by officers of the Baton Rouge Police Department was deeply troubling and has understandably evoked strong emotion and anger in our community,” Richmond said in the statement. “I share in this anger and join the community in the pursuit of justice.”
A news conference is expected later this morning.