The Alton Sterling shooting video has sparked outrage across the United States. The video of police shooting a 37-year-old man as he lies on the ground provided the basis for a federal investigation and sparked the potential for violent protests.
Video of the shooting, which took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hit the internet this week. It showed two police officers holding down Alton Sterling and then shooting and killing him.
The video sparked an almost immediate reaction, CNN noted. The U.S Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has already stepped in to investigate the shooting, working closely with the FBI and state police.
“The video is disturbing to say the least,” Gov. John Bel Edwards told CNN.
Edwards called for unity at a press conference on Wednesday, urging that protesters remain peaceful. But there were fears that the shooting death could spark more violent protests, like the ones that rocked the city of Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray.
The shooting of Alton Sterling has already sparked outrage nationwide, with the video of his shooting death going viral and Sterling’s name a trending term on Twitter.
There are also a number of celebrities and athletes responding, including San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who remarked that this is, “What lynchings look like in 2016.”
A number of NFL players are voicing their frustrations in the wake of the Alton Sterling shooting https://t.co/Pi1YMtVSTD— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 6, 2016
The family of Alton Sterling is also demanding answers, working with Edmond Jordan, an attorney and a Louisiana state legislator.
“(Family members) are taking it hard right now… overwhelmed with grief,” he said.
Family members spoke about Sterling’s death in a press conference on Wednesday, with his 15-year-old son crying uncontrollably while his mother made a statement to the media.
“He [her son Cameron Sterling] had to watch this, as this was put all over the outlets,” Quinyetta McMillan said (via ABC News). “As a mother, I have now been forced to raise a son who is going to remember what happened to his father.”
There are already calls for more action. The local NAACP has called for the Baton Rouge Chief of Police Carl Dabadie Jr. either to be fired or resign. This is the third officer-involved fatal shooting in the East Baton Rouge Parish already this year, with another three fatal shootings in 2015.
Video of the shooting death of Alton Sterling came from a witness who was inside a nearby car. The clip, which runs about 50 seconds, shows an officer pushing Sterling over the hood of a car and then bringing him to the ground. One of the officers yelled that Sterling had a gun, and after more yelling one of the officers pulled a gun and shot Sterling.
Police had responded to a call that a man selling CDs in a convenience store parking lot had threatened someone with a gun. Police later confirmed that Sterling was indeed armed when officers responded.
JUST IN: Police chief: Officers responded to report of man with gun, encountered Alton Sterling, "who was armed." https://t.co/AZAbwQEzax— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) July 6, 2016
Video of the shooting death of Alton Sterling can be seen below, but be warned that it is graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers. It also contains adult language.
Abdul Muflahi, the owner of the convenience store who also knew Sterling personally, told MS News Now that police handled the situation very poorly.
“God bless his soul. It could’ve, it could have, it could have been handled differently. Much differently. On both sides it could have been handled differently,” Muflahi said.
The investigation into the death of Alton Sterling could uncover more video of the shooting. Police are reportedly looking for other witnesses who may have seen the encounter, and Muflahi told CNN that police confiscated footage from surveillance cameras.
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