On Tuesday, July 5, tragic news broke of a black man being shot and killed by a police officer in Baton Rouge, LA. The victim, Alton Sterling, was shot multiple times in front of a convenience store, where he frequently sold CDs.
The news is being shared rapidly across social media platforms through horrific footage of the event taken in a witness’s car. The graphic video shows two police officers, who have been identified as Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, pinning down Sterling and then shooting him as he lies on the ground.
CNN reported that Salamoni is a four-year veteran of the department, while Lake is a three-year veteran. Both officers, who work in the uniform patrol division, were placed on administrative leave Tuesday morning.
Sterling’s death comes just over six weeks after Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a “Blue Lives Matter” bill, which expanded the state’s hate crime statute to include the targeting of police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel.
“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,” Edmond Jordan, Sherling’s attorney, told CNN. “[He] 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.”The Baton Rouge police department has turned over the investigation to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI.
The video, shared widely on social media, quickly sparked local protests and drew national attention. On Wednesday, many notable athletes took to Twitter to mourn Sterling – whose death, they believe, seemed to lack any justification.
Colin Kaepernick posted an angry note along with video of the incident – which is graphic.
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) July 6, 2016
— John Wall (@JohnWall) July 6, 2016
If you think we need to “wait for the facts” on the Alton Sterling execution after seeing the video, you are an accessory to evil.
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) July 6, 2016
No justice in America. What is Independence Day? Definitely means nothing to black people — Strizzy (@JaelenStrong) July 6, 2016
Don’t tweet me his rap sheet. He was murdered by the police while pinned down. He was a husband and father that won’t go back home — Duane Brown (@DuaneBrown76) July 6, 2016
#AltonSterling enough is enough. So distraught I don’t have words
— Devonta Freeman (@devontafreeman) July 6, 2016
Let’s not pretend this isn’t a race issue. This has to change, and fast. And it’s up to us.
— John O’Korn (@JohnOKorn) July 6, 2016
Smh Alton Sterling R.I.P.
— Jelani Jenkins (@jelanijenkins3) July 6, 2016
— Michael Thomas (@Michael31Thomas) July 6, 2016
While the story of the incident has yet to be fully uncovered, and many questions have yet to be answered, it is certain that the death of Alton Sterling will not be forgotten any time soon.