Protests, outrage in Louisiana after fatal shooting of black man by police


Protests have broken out in Louisiana after cellphone video emerged showing a black man being held down and fatally shot by police.

Baton Rouge Police Department said officers confronted 37-year-old Alton Sterling after responding to reports that a man selling CDs outside of a store was threatening someone with a gun at 12:35 a.m. Wednesday.

An "altercation" ensued and resulted in Sterling being shot and killed by the officers, who have been placed on administrative leave in accordance with police procedure.

The BBC reports that footage of the incident emerged on social media following the killing, showing the two officers – who are white – holding down and shooting Sterling dead.

You can see the video here (graphic content warning). It shows Sterling holding his arms out wide before one of the officers tackles him and and wrestles him to the ground. The pair then pin him down and while they have him pinned down, a shout of "he's got a gun" is heard.

An officer then points a gun towards his head and says "You (expletive) move I swear to God," before shots are heard and the camera turns away.

The BBC says the killing sparked a crowd of 200 people to protest at the scene, but more are expected to return later to protest outside Baton Rouge City Hall.

Rep. Ted James, of the Louisiana House of Representatives, has denounced the shooting as "murder" while Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond told NBC News the killing is "deeply troubling."

He has urged the U.S. Department of Justice to launch an investigation.

The Washington Post reports that Sterling had recently gotten out of prison, having had a criminal record dating back to 1996 that includes aggravated battery, domestic abuse, possessing marijuana and illegally carrying a weapon with a controlled dangerous substance.

Sterling, a father, had been living in a Christian transitional living center after recently being released from prison and was selling CDs as he tried to get his life back on track.

His sister, Mignon Chambers, told the Associated Press that the police had "messed up," adding: "That was not the way to handle the situation."

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