Whether it's infamously, unfortunately, frustratingly or all three, Alton Sterling became the 558th person in the United States to be killed by police this year after the 37-year-old man was confronted by Baton Rouge officers early Tuesday morning (July 5). That Sterling was black and the two officials were white only stoked the anger of the community, both online and on the streets. Protests launched in the early morning, where demonstrators chanted "Black lives matter."
According to police, officers responded to a call that Sterling was selling CDs outside of a retail store and allegedly threatened a man with a gun.
It's unclear the exact nature in the series of events, but cell phone footage posted online (see below) shows the two officers, in a hostile manner, wrestling the larger Sterling to the ground. After an inaudible exchange, one officer yells, "He's got a gun," though Sterling appeared to have been accosted by this point. An officer fires and the owner of the cell phone can be heard dramatically reacting to the event.
A coroner ruled Sterling's death a homicide (he was shot more than two times) and several reports suggested that an investigation, both by police and local government, would begin almost immediately.
The owner of the convenience store where the incident took place in the parking lot told reporters that he did not see a gun and Sterling's "hand was nowhere (near) his pocket." Police say they did recover a firearm inside of Sterling's pocket afterward. Authorities have yet to comment on the gun.
Alton Sterling's name was trending on Twitter beginning late Tuesday and users expressed outrage over another black death at the hands of a white police officer.
The community need to police the police. https://t.co/nLY2O3llWZ— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) July 6, 2016
We all know whats going to happen...despite there being camera footage of #altonsterling being murdered...this guy wont even be indicted— Roy Bellamy (@roybelly) July 6, 2016