Black people across the world have joined their counterparts living in the United States to stand up and speak out against the killing of 37-year-old Alton Sterling on Tuesday, July 5, outside Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, Louisiana around 12:30 a.m.
Since the video confirming the killing went viral, activists have called for the arrest of the two officers associated with the murder, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, who have been placed on administrative leave while being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Edmond Jordan, the attorney of the deceased in a statement said, “Alton was a respected man. He was beloved in the community. He did not deserve the treatment and this excessive force that was exerted on him by the police department.
“Alton was out there selling CDs, trying to make a living. He was doing it with the permission of the store owner, so he wasn’t trespassing or anything like that. He wasn’t involved in any criminal conduct.”
This incident has been classified as US police violence and statistics revealed that in 2015 alone 1,152 people were killed by police with 30% of victims black and 97% of the deaths were not followed by any charges against police officers.
Here, we share with you some things you should know about Alton Sterling…
- Alton was the father of five children from different partners, the oldest son Cameron is 15 years.
- In September, 2000, Alton had a criminal history consisting of sexual intercourse with a minor under age 17, and was registered as a sex offender in 2004 for “carnal knowledge of a juvenile” in his Louisiana, his home state.
- In the last six years, Alton earned his living by selling CDs outside a grocery store in Louisiana’s second largest city, Baton Rouge; his friends also confirmed that he also worked as a cook”.
- In 2009, Alton pleaded guilty to illegal possession of marijuana and carrying a weapon, and was sentenced to five years in prison.
- Because of his past criminal offenses, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office had ordered him to live at a shelter of Living Waters Outreach Ministries at 4156 W. Brookstown Dr.
- Before his death, Mr Sterling had been incarcerated, released on parole and was not allowed to carry a gun. He was said to be in illegal possession of a gun at the time of his death.
- The US Justice Department commenced an investigation through the department’s civil rights division as announced by Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edwards on Wednesday afternoon, July 6.
- Community leaders said they did not trust the police and over 200 demonstrators were seen in a protest chanting “black lives matter” and “hands up don’t shoot” late into the night on Tuesday, July 5
- A makeshift memorial for Sterling was erected on the white folding tables and fold-out chair which Sterling used to sell homemade music compilations before his death.
- Alton Sterling’s death is tragically similar to Eric Garner’s. Eric used to sell loose cigarettes outside of a store in Staten Island, New York. He died in 2014 after being placed in a chokehold by Police officers; his last moment was also captured with a camera.
- An autopsy showed that Sterling died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back.
- Some have associated the killing to racial distress as black people are much more likely to be killed by police than their white peers.
- Alton Sterling is the 558th person to be shot and killed in America by a police officer this year, 2016, according to The Guardian.
- Other blacks who had recently died in the hands of Police in America are Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, and Michael Brown.
Michael McCalahan, the head of National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) in Baton Rouge expressed his anger over the murder.
“We are going to turn the entire case over to the US Attorney’s office and the FBI to conduct the investigation from this point,” he said, shortly after the announcement.
“What we’re going to do today is root out the one per cent of bad police officers that go around becoming the judge, the jury and the executioner of innocent people. Period! But more specifically, innocent black lives.”
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