Police Killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge Leads to Outrage, Protests

Police in Baton Rouge killed 37-year old Alton Sterling outside a convenience store on Tuesday morning, leading to widespread outrage and protests.

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Alton Sterling, a 37-year old black man from Baton Rouge, La., was killed by police on Tuesday outside of a convenience store.

Sterling was selling CDs outside of the Triple S Food Mart, according to the Baton Rouge AdvocateTwo white officers showed up after receiving an anonymous call saying that a man selling CDs outside of the store had pointed a gun at someone. Witnesses confirm that Sterling was armed, but he was not holding or touching his gun during his interaction with police.

There is a 48-second cell phone video of the confrontation between the police and Sterling, captured by a bystander, which can be found here. The video shows Sterling being shot twice, and three shots are audible afterwards. A separate video, obtained by the Daily Beast, does not appear to support claims that the gun allegedly in Sterling's possession posed any threat to the responding officers. The video shows Sterling being repeatedly shot after being pressed to the ground, with one officer seen taking an object from Sterling's pants pocket.

According to an autopsy, Sterling was killed by multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back. Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie, Jr. claims that the body cameras worn by both officers involved in the shooting fell off during the incident, according to NewsWest9.

Abdul Muflahi, the owner of the Triple S, said that he did not see a gun in Sterling's hand, but did see police pull one out of his pocket afterwards.

The Rouge Collection conducted a video interview with Muflahi.

"They didn't have to shoot him," the store owner said. "They got a call saying that he had a gun. They could have handled it differently."

View this video on YouTube


The officers involved in the shooting have not yet been interviewed, as it is the department's standard practice to wait 24 hours before doing so, Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.

At around 6 p.m., protestors began gathering in front of the Triple S. By 7:30 p.m., the crowd had grown to more than 100 people. Several hours later, the crowd was even larger.

Thinned out some but large group of protestors still out, chanting "No justice, no peace." #AltonSterling pic.twitter.com/HWEEj5dM6v

— Bryn Stole (@brynstole) July 6, 2016

As of just after 11 p.m., the group had gotten smaller but was still present.

How many more times must this happen for us to matter? How many more must we lose?
BLACK. LIVES. MATTER. #AltonSterling

— Zendaya (@Zendaya) July 6, 2016

Outrage at Sterling's killing rippled through social media as well, with the hashtag #AltonSterling trending on Twitter.

As USA Black outside of Sports&Entertainment HARD for USA to KNOW your name. Sick sport of PoliceBrutality is adding to that #AltonSterling

— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) July 6, 2016

Just watched police officers kill #AltonSterling in cold blood. My heart hurts. I am sick. My black son lays sleeping -his future? #Jesus

— Sherri Shepherd (@sherrieshepherd) July 6, 2016

That's murder. #AltonSterling

— Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) July 6, 2016

As the evening went on, celebrities began to weigh in on Sterling's killing.

Foreal though wth?!? The #AltonSterling video makes me sick...its gettin out of control!! #blacklivesmatter #thisworldneedsprayer

— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) July 6, 2016

Video: Son of #AltonSterling breaks down in tears as family speaks out about Baton Rouge shooting https://t.co/53dz3PN4c0

— MSNBC (@MSNBC) July 6, 2016

On Wednesday morning, the two officers involved in the shooting were put on administrative leave, per standard department policy, USA Today reported. Several politicians also called for an investigation into the incident, including Rep. Ted James, who referred to what happened as "a murder." Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond released a statement and asked for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Sterling's death.

"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," he said. "I share in this anger and join the community in the pursuit of justice. My prayers and thoughts are with Mr. Sterling's family as they deal with this tragedy. There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding Mr. Sterling's death. Including questions about the 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."

Sterling's family spoke early Wednesday and one of Sterling's sons broke down in tears as a statement about his father was read:

On Thursday, President Barack Obama released a statement regarding the deaths of both Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. "To admit we've got a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day," Obama said. "It is to say that, as a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement."

Read Obama's full statement below:

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