Friday 24 February 2017

Police shooting sparks protests

Carrie Du Point

People protest after Alton Sterling was shot and killed during an altercation with two police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Photo: REUTERS/Bryn Stole
People protest after Alton Sterling was shot and killed during an altercation with two police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Photo: REUTERS/Bryn Stole

Street protests have followed the shooting of a black man selling CDs in Louisiana.

The man was shot outside a shop, sparking a wave of angry reaction. The killing was just the latest in a string of cases of alleged police brutality against African-American suspects.

A video shot by a witness and circulated online showed one police officer charging at the man early on Tuesday before another helped pin him to the ground and ultimately shoot him four times at close range. Both officers appeared to be white.

"They shot him? Oh my f---ing goodness!" one witness can be heard as exclaiming in the background of the video.

Police in the state's capital, Baton Rouge, identified the man as Alton Sterling (37), saying two officers "made contact" with him in the parking lot of the convenience store.

The shooting took place at 12.35 am (04.35 GMT) on Tuesday, after police received a tip from an anonymous caller who said they had been threatened by a man with a gun, according to a police statement.

"An altercation between Sterling and the officers ensued. Sterling was shot during the altercation and died at the scene," police said on Facebook.

They said that in accordance with "standard procedure," the two officers involved in the shooting had been placed on administrative leave during the ongoing investigation.

About 100 people, including friends and relatives of Sterling, protested outside the store after the incident overnight, some blocking roads, 'The Advocate' newspaper reported.

Holding up handmade signs, they chanted: "Black lives matter" and "Hands up, don't shoot."

Democratic congressman Cedric Richmond called for the US Justice Department to conduct a "full and transparent" investigation into the incident.

Irish Independent

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