DOJ to investigate fatal Baton Rouge police shooting

CBS NEWS reports

The Louisiana governor has announced that the U.S. Department of Justice will investigate the fatal police shooting of a man in Baton Rouge.

Protesters called for more demonstrations Wednesday following a night of unrest over the fatal shooting — caught on video — of a black man by police officers as they were spinning him to ground outside a Baton Rouge convenience store.

The two officers have been placed on administrative following the incident.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says the cell phone video of the fatal shooting in Baton Rouge is "disturbing to say the least."
 
 
 
 

 
Edwards said during a news conference on Wednesday that the U.S. Justice Department would investigate the shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling. He was killed early Tuesday outside a convenience store where he was selling CDs.
 
Police say they were called to the store Tuesday after an anonymous caller said Sterling had threatened someone with a gun.
 
The governor said he understood that protesters were angry over the shooting and called for calm.
 
Authorities have not released the race of the two officers, who have been placed on administrative leave.

Officers responded to the store about 12:35 a.m. Tuesday after an anonymous caller indicated a man, later identified as  Sterling, selling music CDs and wearing a red shirt threatened him with a gun, Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.

Two officers responded and had some type of altercation with the man  and one officer fatally shot the suspect, McKneely said. Both officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard department policy, he said.

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., who called for the Department of Justice to investigate  the killing, said officials claimed that both officers had body cameras "but they fell off during the struggle and do not show the shooting."

A hundred + people gathered to pray outside store where Alton Sterling shot. "Let's have respect for his family." pic.twitter.com/fGBbJYPTB4

— Bryn Stole (@BrynStole) July 6, 2016

The store’s owner, Abdul Muflahi, told WAFB-TV that the first officer used a stun gun on Sterling and the second officer tackled the man. Muflahi said as Sterling fought to get the officer off of him, the first officer shot him “four to six times.”

A 48-second cellphone video of  the incident purportedly captured by a bystander shows an officers firing at least one round into a man's chest followed by the sound of at least fourre shots as the camera abruptly turns away, The Advocate newspaper reports.

"Get on the ground, get on the ground!"one officer yells at the beginning of the video clip.

One officer is seen pulling the man's left arm down while pressed down on the man's chest. The man's right arm is not visible in the video.

"He's got a gun! Gun," one officer says, prompting another officer, visible in the video, to draw a weapon and point it down at the man's chest following by a flash from the gun.

The owner said Sterling did not have a gun in his hand at the time but he saw officers remove a gun from Sterling’s pocket after the shooting.

East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William "Beau" Clark said the initial resutls of an autopsy show that Sterling suffered multiple gunsot wounds to the chest and back, The Advocate reports.

By dawn Wednesday, protesters and friends had created a makeshift memorial to Sterling on the white folding tables and fold out chair he had used to sell homemade music compilations on CD’s.

Sterling's aunt, Sandra Sterling, tells CNN that her nephew was a "gentle giant."

"There was no justice, he didn't have a chance, he didn't have a chance," she says.

ichmond urged leaders and citizens to  join him "in demonstrating our anger with dignity and demanding proper focus on our cause with perseverance."

"His family and the citizens of Baton Rouge — especially the citizens of North Baton Rouge--deserve answers and that is what we will seek in a fair, thorough, and transparent way."

Residents protested on and off throughout the day after Alton Sterling, 37, who was selling CDs, died in a confrontation with police, as video circulated on social media capturing the deadly encounter.

Demonstrators chanted, "hands up, don't shoot" and "black lives matter."

Congressman Cedric Richmond of Louisiana called for the Department of Justice to investigate Sterling's death.

“The video footage released today of the shooting of Alton Sterling by officers of the Baton Rouge Police Department was deeply troubling and has understandably evoked strong emotion and anger in our community,” Richmond said in a statement. “I share in this anger and join the community in the pursuit of justice."

An autopsy shows Sterling died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back, East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. William Clark said.

During the protest overnight, about 200 residents chanted, "Hands up, don't shoot" and "black lives matter."

Makeshift memorial for "Big Alton" feet from spot of shooting; security camera in top right (police took video) pic.twitter.com/urboAfcihL

— Bryn Stole (@BrynStole) July 6, 2016

Demonstrators blocked the intersection near the convenience store before 10 p.m. CT Tuesday night. They eventually cleared the streets and moved to the sidewalks. They told drivers to anticipate another gathering at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning in front of City Hall.

The officers have not been identified.


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