Reactions To Alton Sterling's Death Show The Continued Outrage Over Police Violence
Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black father in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was pinned down by police and shot to death early Tuesday. A graphic video shows Sterling's death outside a convenience store, and reactions to Alton Sterling's death show the continued outrage over police violence and how it affects black lives.
A bystander captured a video where Baton Rouge police officers can be seen tackling and pinning Sterling down before firing their guns (the graphic video footage can be viewed here). Sterling was a father of five, who was known to sell CDs around the convenience store where he died, according to a report by the NY Daily News. He was known as the "CD man," the report added. In a video captured by MSNBC, Sterling's 15-year-old son can be seen crying over the loss of his father, as his mother speaks during a press conference on Wednesday morning regarding Sterling's death.
According to NBC News, protesters gathered outside the convenience store where Sterling died early Tuesday morning chanting "black lives matter," and holding signs reading "honk for justice."
In a statement released Wednesday, Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, said the released video footage has had a deep impact on the community:
"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,” the statement read. “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.”
You know, that's what gets me when I see these videos these days. It's the ease w/ which we are killed that gets me. #AltonSterling— deray mckesson (@deray) July 6, 2016
You CAN'T justify this. It was a senseless act of murder. It wasn't "self defense", so stop trying to hide behind that excuse #AltonSterling— move mojito (@boycottdanny) July 6, 2016
Many have used the hashtag, #AltonSterling on Twitter to express their outrage over Sterling's death, and how it's yet another somber acknowledgement of the black people who lose their lives to police violence. A Vox report last year analyzing FBI data, suggested that black people in the United States were killed by police at disproportionate rates:
He had a right to sell CDs, and a right to due process, but he he was shot for being a black man. Don't rationalize murder. #AltonSterling— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) July 6, 2016
A statement released by the Baton Rouge Police Department on Facebook, stated that the officers responded to a disturbance call saying a black male selling CDs threatened the caller with a gun:
"An altercation between Sterling and the officers ensued," the statement continued. "Sterling was shot during the altercation and died at the scene." Two officers from the Baton Rouge Police Department were placed on administrative leave "per standard procedure," according to the police department's statement.
Sterling reportedly died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back, according to William Clark, the coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish, The New York Times reported.
I've seen enough videos of cops killing black ppl for dozen lifetimes. take care of yourselves today fam, it's ok to skip #AltonSterling vid— Franchesca Ramsey (@chescaleigh) July 6, 2016
The footage of Sterling's death is unquestionably hard to watch – it's yet another video circulating the internet showing the death of a black life at the hands of police. Choosing to watch the horrific video is a personal choice, but it continues to be important for everyone to remain informed on the Black Lives Matter movement, and why it's so evidently needed.