Alton Sterling Shooting Sparks Outrage Nationwide – DOJ to Investigate


Baton Rouge Louisiana can be added to the list of cities suffering at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve. Killings by police in this country happen all the time. Fortunately, people are growing more aware by the day, taking note when they see police interactions on the street. Another black man is dead at the hands of police in what can only be described as brutal and questionable circumstances.


Alton Sterling was gunned down by Baton Rouge police officers outside of a convenience store last week, where he was allegedly selling CD’s. Cell phone video of the incident surfaced showing that Sterling was pinned down on the ground when officers opened fire. To add suspicion to the incident, both officers, identified as Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake Jr, had their body cams “fall off” during the incident. Police were called to the Triple S Food mart where they confronted 37 year-old Alton Sterling who was reportedly selling CD’s outside the store. The caller alleged Sterling had a handgun and was acting aggressively. The short cell phone video shows one officer tackling Sterling onto the hood of a car then onto the pavement. It does not show that Sterling was putting up much if any resistance. Officers often interpret the difficulty in manipulating and handcuffing large subjects as resistance, which appears to be the case here. One of the officers yells “gun” The other officer can then be seen pulling his firearm and putting it up against the already restrained Sterling. A few seconds later shots are fired and Alton Sterling was dead.


According to the owner of the convenience store where Sterling was shot, he was told not to move by police. “He was asking them what he did wrong,” Abdullah Mufahi stated.

Police then used the Taser on Sterling before tackling him to the ground. According to Mufahi, one of the officers yelled “gun” and then the shots started firing. He also stated that the police were “freaking out” after the incident. He saw police pull a handgun from Sterling’s pocket after the shooting had occurred. Mufahi doesn’t know why anyone would have called police on Sterling in the first place, as no altercation had occurred. He had seen him in the store and had joked with him just a few minutes prior to the incident.

Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of Sterling’s fifteen year-old son Cameron, shed tears at a press conference while she addressed a crowd of angry supporters and media. “The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis… As this video has been shared across the world, you will see with your own eyes how he was handled unjustly and killed without regard for the lives that he helped raise.”

The preliminary autopsy report listed Sterling’s cause of death as “multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back,” with no additional information having been released. The East Baton Rouge Coroner William Clark advised that additional information will be released with the official report in sixty to ninety days.


When asked about the suspicious lack of body camera footage, the police advised that they had “become dislodged.”  “That footage may not be as good as we hoped for. During the altercation, the body cameras did become dislodged, but they did stay on and active and recording at this time,” stated Lt Johnny Dunham of the Baton Rouge Police to reporters during a press conference last Wednesday. The lack of body camera footage only adds fuel to the fire in an incident that is quickly looking more like a murder than a justified shooting.

Baton Rouge’s Police Chief Carl Dabadie attempted to get ahead of any large scale protesting that is bound to occur. “We ask for your voluntary compliance to our laws and peaceful assembly with any gatherings that may be planned,” Dabadie said. “We encourage you to plan and protest … we don’t have any problems with that. We just ask you to do it peacefully, and that no one gets hurt.”

City officials are justifiably nervous as police actions have incited incidents of rioting and looting to cities like Ferguson and Baltimore. Baton Rouge is not looking to take on the massive amount of attention that this shooting will bring to it. Protesters have been gathering at the Triple S convenience store and City Hall throughout the week, and thankfully, there have been no reports of violence.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards told reporters that the U.S. Department of Justice civil rights division would be handling the investigation. Edwards had what he called “serious concerns” after watching the now viral video of the shooting. Even the District Attorney has agreed to step aside in this case, pending the outcome of the DOJ investigation. So far, it appears that the state of Louisiana is making a valid attempt to do the right thing and maintain a level of transparency. We will have to wait and see if that transparency holds up in the future.

Edmond Jordan,the Attorney for Sterling’s family and Louisiana State Representative praised Apple, Google and Microsoft in an obvious nod to the way the case was brought into a new light, with the surfacing of the cell phone video through social media. According to Jordan, police seized the surveillance system from the Triple 9 convenience store without a warrant. The incident was captured in its entirety and is now being held by the Baton Rouge Police. Neither the body cam footage or the surveillance tape have been released. The family of Alton Sterling has yet to state whether they plan to file a lawsuit.

Sources: CNN, NY Daily News, PIX 11.

This article (Alton Sterling Shooting Sparks Outrage Nationwide – DOJ to Investigate) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author Alek Hidell and


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