[Warning: This post contains graphic content.]
Alton Sterling, 37, was shot by Baton Rouge, LA police officers outside of a convenience store he was selling music in front of early Tuesday morning.
Video taken by witnesses show Sterling being stunned and thrashed around by officers, pinned to the ground and having a gun pointed at him after an officer yells, “He’s got a gun!” Immediately afterwards, officers opened fire shooting him multiple times in the upper body. He was pronounced dead at the scene with gunshot wounds to his chest and back.
Officers arrived at the scene after an anonymous caller notified authorities that a man selling music in front of a Triple S Food Mart and was armed, according to the New York Daily News. The officers involved in the shooting are currently on administrative leave. They were reportedly wearing body cameras, but officers claim the cameras came loose during the altercation and didn’t catch much footage. This fact seems odd since body cams are meant to remain attached to officers for precisely these sorts of altercations.
As a result of the shooting, a collection of people met at the scene of Sterling’s death and held a protest as they asked necessary questions about how the altercation played out and if it could’ve been resolved. But now that video of the incident has gone public, opinions are sure to flare in a much wider audience.
It should be made clear that Louisiana allows adult citizens to open carry without a license as long as they aren’t felons. This murder raises important questions about the escalation of police interactions with Black citizens, the effectiveness of body cameras, and the mentalities of police officers who continue to kill unarmed and nonviolent people of color.
Photo Credit: Twitter