Police Shooting of Alton Sterling Sparks Protests in Baton Rouge

By  | 

It happened again–a cellphone video circulating on social media shows police shooting a black man at close range, only hours after Independence Day celebrations ebbed. Early Tuesday morning Alton Sterling, 37, was shot and killed when pinned to the ground by two police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

According to reports from Louisiana police an anonymous person called 911 and said that a man selling CDs outside the grocery store had threatened him with a gun. Police arrived at the scene, tasered Sterling and wrestled him to the ground.

The cellphone video shows how seconds later someone says, “He’s got a gun.” This led the officers to shoot Sterling even though he was already lying on the ground. It was later confirmed he was shot multiple times in the chest and the back, sparking outrage on social media and protests in Baton Rouge.

This is the video.

According to local media, residents who took to the streets accepted the fact that the same civil unrest and race-focused protests that have grown in other cities have now arrived in Baton Rouge. In Baton Rouge the African-American population is divided from the white, in many cases living in separate neighborhoods and under the poverty line.

Even though protesters stopped traffic and no police officers were in sight, the protests were largely non-violent and controlled.

Alton Sterling was a father of three and sold his CDs in front of the convenience store. The owner Abdullah Muflahi told CNN that they had known each other for six years and that he never saw any argument between Sterling and someone else. He also never saw the gun-waving incident that allegedly was called in to 911.

“Pretty much everybody who knows him knows he’s a sweet person,” Sterling’s sister, Mignon Chambers, said to WVLA-TV.

Sterling’s family spoke at a press conference about the shooting:

The shooting comes a little more than a week after the actor Jesse Williams gave a speech at the BET Awards on racism, and urged listeners to not accept police brutality. According to CNN, the police officers involved in Sterling’s death are now on administrative leave.

Emma Von Zeipel
Emma Von Zeipel is a staff writer at Law Street Media. She is originally from one of the islands of Stockholm, Sweden. After working for Democratic Voice of Burma in Thailand, she ended up in New York City. She has a BA in journalism from Stockholm University and is passionate about human rights, good books, horses, and European chocolate. Contact Emma at



Send this to friend