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Graphic Videos Show Tragic Death of Alton Sterling
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Summary: Two videos of police officers killing a black CD salesman have sparked outrage across the country. 

On Tuesday, two Baton Rouge police officers shot and killed Alton Sterling in front of a convenience store. Sterling, 37, frequently sold CDs there, the store owner said; and police responded to a call that he was threatening someone with a gun. The ordeal was recorded from two different angles, and both videos have gone viral, igniting a debate about police brutality and American race conflicts.

  
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CNN reports that the 911 call that prompted the police to arrive was made by a homeless man who got into an argument with Sterling, who is African-American. The homeless man approached Sterling, asking for money; and after Sterling said no, the man persisted. A source said that after Sterling said, “I told you to leave me alone,” he showed the man his gun. The homeless man then used his personal cell phone to dial 911.

Two BRPD officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, arrived on the scene. A person nearby recorded what happened next, and in the heartbreaking and graphic video, the two officers tackle Sterling and then the camera pans away and gunshots are heard. In a second video recorded by the store owner from a closer angle, viewers can see officers removing a gun from Sterling’s pocket after he is presumably dead. He did not have a weapon in his hands.

Abdullah Muflah, the owner of the Triple S Food Mart where the shooting occurred, said that Sterling was his friend and frequently sold CDs in that location with his permission. He stated that the police took his store’s camera footage without a warrant, and the police confirmed this, stating they will provide it to investigators. Muflah recorded the second video secretly with his cell phone and released it online.

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Since the videos have gone viral, tensions have mounted in the city, with many citizens mourning the execution of a black man by the white police. While Sterling does have a criminal record, CNN reports that it did not seem like the officers were aware of that when they arrived.

Sterling was a father, and his death has devastated his family.



“The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis. … As this video has been shared across the world, you will see with your own eyes how he was handled unjustly and killed without regard for the lives that he helped raise,” said Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of Sterling’s son.

The two officers have been placed on leave; and the police department, Department of Justice, FBI, and U.S. Attorney’s office will conduct a full investigation. The officers were questioned by authorities on Tuesday but have not yet released a public statement.

What do you think about this case? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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