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Family, Community Demands Justice After Fatal Shooting of Alton Sterling

Sterling was fatally shot on Tuesday as police officers pinned him to the ground.
Family, Community Demands Justice After Fatal Shooting of Alton Sterling
AP Photo/Michael Kunzelman

A Louisiana community is looking for answers after a Black father was fatally shot by police on Tuesday outside of a Baton Rouge convenience store.

According to the Associated Press, police were called to the scene after receiving reports that 37-year-old Alton Sterling had threatened someone with a gun. Upon arriving, cell phone video shows police tackling Sterling, pinning him on the ground. While he was on the ground, an unidentified police officer reportedly drew his gun and opened fire, fatally striking Sterling. The two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.

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Shortly after video of the shooting began circulating online, a group of Black Lives Matter protestors gathered at the scene, demanding justice.

“[Sterling was] killed without regard for the lives that he had raised,” an unnamed family member told the AP.

Various Louisiana leaders have spoken out, including Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), who issued a statement yesterday demanding that the Department of Justice open an investigation.

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“There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding Mr. Sterling’s death, including questions about the initial calls for police presence, the level of force used by officers, the verbal and physical altercation and the response of the officers after he was shot…I ask the leaders and citizens of Baton Rouge to join me in demonstrating our anger with dignity and demanding proper focus on our cause with perseverance.” 

Additionally, the leader of the local NAACP has called for the Baton Rouge police chief to step down.

“What I’m calling for today is that the chief law enforcement officer to fire the police chief,” Baton Rouge NAACP President Michael McClanahan said at a press conference. “He must step down. We cannot have anybody who allows this type of action to take place.”