Thursday, 7 July 2016


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Alton Sterling: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Published By Tom Cleary 
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Alton Sterling, right, and a screengrab from the bystander video of the fatal shooting by Baton Rouge Police. (Twitter)

A 37-year-old man was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, early Tuesday morning in an incident caught on video by a witness.

The 48-second video showing the shooting of Alton Sterling has sparked outrage in the community and on social media.

Sterling was shot and killed about 12:35 a.m. Tuesday, The Advocate reports.

He was selling CDs outside the Triple S Food Mart, at the corner of Fairfields Avenue and North Foster Drive, WAFB-TV reports.

Officers had responded to a disturbance call in which the caller said someone had been threatening him with a gun, police told the news station.

Baton Rouge Police have released few details about the shooting, including whether Sterling was armed. But a witness told The Advocate that Sterling did have a gun, but was not holding it or reaching for his pockets during the incident.

Here’s what you need to know:

Warning: The video below is graphic.

1. An Officer Is Heard Saying ‘He’s Got a Gun!’ & ‘You F*cking Move, I Swear to God!’ Before Shots Are Fired

Two Baton Rouge Police officers were responding to a “disturbance call from a complainant who stated that a black male who was selling music cd’s and wearing a red shirt threatened him with a gun,” police spokesman Corporal L’Jean Mckneely Jr. said in a statement.

Mckneely said an “altercation between Sterling and the officers ensued. Sterling was shot during the altercation and died at the scene.”

The altercation was caught on cell phone video by a bystander.

The brief video, which you can watch above, shows the end of the incident. In the video, an officer can be heard yelling “get on the ground,” out of the view of the cell phone camera. As the camera pans up, an officer is seen charging at Alton Sterling, grabbing him and tackling him into the hood of a car and then down to the pavement.

Another officer can then be seen kneeling on Sterling. After a few seconds one of the officers yells, “He’s got a gun!” The officer seen in the video kneeling on Sterling draws his weapon and one of them says, “if you f*cking move, I swear to God!”

One of the officers then says something somewhat unintelligible, that appears to be, “Mike, he’s going for the Taser!”

Two shots can then be heard and the bystander drops the cell phone. Three more shots are then fired after a brief pause.

Just In: Baton Rouge cops kill 37 year old #AltonSterling in front of a Store where he was selling CD's Today

— Today'sLoop (@TodaysLoop) July 6, 2016

The store’s owner, Abdullah Muflahi, told The Advocate that Sterling was armed, but said he was not holding his gun or touching his pockets during the incident, the Advocate reports. The gun was later found in his pocket, Muflahi told the newspaper. Police have not confirmed his version of events.

You can watch video of Muflahi talking about what he saw during the shooting, recorded by a reporter for The Advocate, below:

Maya Lau ✔@mayalau
Abdullah Muflahi, owner of store where Alton Sterling killed in BR, describes seeing shooting by officer
5:35 PM - 5 Jul 2016
4,347 4,347 Retweets 2,745 2,745 likes

Maya Lau ✔@mayalau
Another video: Abdullah Muflahi, owner of Triple S store, says officer killed his friend, Alton Sterling
6:18 PM - 5 Jul 2016
1,108 1,108 Retweets 579 579 likes
Muflahi told The Advocate that Sterling began carrying a gun after he was mugged. He said a Taser was used by the officers on Sterling, but it did not bring him to the ground. The sound of the stun gun can be heard at the start of the video.

The officers have not yet been questioned.

“We give officers normally a day or so to go home and think about it,” Mckneely told The Advocate.

Alton Sterling Photos: Pictures of Man Shot by Baton Rouge Police
Alton Sterling, 37, was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. See photos of him here.

Click here to read more
2. Sterling, Who Was Pronounced Dead at the Scene, Was Shot Multiple Times in the Back & Chest
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Alton Sterling. (Twitter)

Sterling was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting, the Baton Rouge Police Department said in a press release.

An autopsy was conducted later Tuesday. He died of multiple gunshot wounds to the back and chest, the East Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office told WBRZ-TV.

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden told the news station there will be a thorough investigation.

“This is not going to be a cover up,” Holden said.

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Congressman Cedric Richmond, a Democrat who represents the 2nd District of Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, has called for an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice in a statement released early Wednesday morning:

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,” said Rep. Richmond. “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. I call on the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a full and transparent investigation into this incident. The cause of justice requires state and local law enforcement to join in this request as soon as possible.

“I ask the leaders and citizens of Baton Rouge to join me in demonstrating our anger with dignity and demanding proper focus on our cause with perseverance,” Richmond said. “His family and the citizens of Baton Rouge–especially the citizens of North Baton Rouge–deserve answers and that is what we will seek in a fair, thorough, and transparent way.”