Alton Sterling

Alton SterlingShot dead whilst restrained on the ground

from various sources – December 2016
submitted by – Halima Iqra Ghafoor
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Any news updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old man, was shot dead by Louisiana police officers in the state capital Bolton Rouge on Tuesday 5 July 2016. In his last few seconds of life, Alton was completely immobile after the officers had pinned him to the floor.

But even as he seemed completely unable to move, one of the police officers yelled, “He’s got a gun!” Within seconds one officer shot Sterling while still pinned to the ground. Alton died of multiple gunshot wounds according to an autopsy.

According to official records Baton Rouge police officers Blaine Salamoni and Howie Lake responded to a call at a convenience store after receiving an anonymous tip that a man in a red shirt that was selling CDs had pointed a gun at someone. Alton matched part of the description: He sold CDs, and he was wearing a red shirt.

From a source it was told early on that Tuesday before Sterling was shot, he was selling CDS and the homeless man approached Sterling for some money. The man was persistent and Sterling had shown his gun and said “I told you to leave me alone,”

A mobile phone video went on to be shared widely over social media and sparked local and international press attention. The video was filmed by Abdullah Muflahi, the owner of the convenience store Sterling was reportedly selling CDs outside of before police were called.

“I was just in shock,” said Muflahi, who owned the store since 2010. “They shot him three times, and rolled off of him. Then they shot him three more times”.

From the video you can see the two police officers wrestled him on top of a car and pushed him down to the ground. The video also shows Alton trying to move around, struggling to breathe, but an officer reaches for his weapon and shot him several times.

Footage that emerged later shows that a police officer pulled what appears to be a gun out of the victims right pocket after he had been fatally shot.

A woman – apparently a bystander – can be heard saying “Oh my God”, followed by another asking: “They shot him?” The first woman replies: “Yes.”

Mr. Jordan, the family’s lawyer, said “Mr. Sterling’s relatives were not aware of him owning a gun.” Arthur Reed, the founder of Stop the Killing, the group that released the one of the cellphone videos, said he saw a gun only after Mr. Sterling had been fatally shot. He said the group decided to release its video after he heard that the police had accused Mr. Sterling of reaching for a gun.

“He never reached in the video,” Mr. Reed said. “He never did anything.”

Hours after the shooting, a crowd of about 200 people protested at the scene, blocking roads and chanting: “Black lives matter”. Other memorials and vigils were spread across the country in reaction to his killing.  Local civic leaders and Sterling’s loved ones have promised to find out what happened.

Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of one of Sterling’s children, said, “I will not allow ya’ll to sweep him in the dirt.” Cameron Sterling, Mr. Sterling’s 15-year-old son, wept uncontrollably as his mother  delivered a statement.

“The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis,” Ms. McMillon said, adding, “As a mother I have now been forced to raise a son who is going to remember what happened to his father.”

Alton’s violent death came amid heightened tension in the US over the deaths of African-American men at the hands of police. There are more than 1,000 fatal shootings by police in the US each year, and disproportionate numbers of those killed are African-Americans.

Gov. John Bel Edwards vowed a complete and transparent investigation stating; “I have full confidence that this matter will be investigated thoroughly, impartially and professionally,”  he also said in announcing the federal takeover of the case. “I have very serious concerns. The video is disturbing, to say the least.”

It is terrible to know Alton had been left dead whilst he had a 15-year-old son.  It is unfair for a situation like this to happen.  A 15-year-old boy is now left without a farther to look up to. His son is now scarred for life knowing how his farther had died so violently.

“We’re not abdicating anything,”   said Gov. John Bel Edwards “we’re making the best decisions to make sure that the situation remains under control here in Baton Rouge and that we don’t experience any more upheaval … in our communities here in Baton Rouge and around Louisiana.”

On the one-month anniversary of the day Baton Rouge police fatally shot Alton Sterling outside a north Baton Rouge convenience store, about 100 people gathered in the Triple S parking lot to celebrate Sterling’s life and urge people to continue pushing for justice in the case.

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Follow-up News:

Officers won’t be charged in Louisiana shooting death of Alton Sterling
2 May 2017

Obama meets with Alton Sterling’s family
23 August 2016

Calls for justice heard a month after Alton Sterling’s death: ‘It’s time to get back out here’
5 August 2016

Alton Sterling was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police officers
10 July 2016

Alton Sterling: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know
8 July 2016

Why Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are dead
7 July 2016

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