Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

Alton B Stirling
June 14, 1979 – July 5, 2016

Black and shot

July 5, 2016: in Baton Rouge  officers (both white), Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II responded to a report that a black man in a red shirt selling CDs outside the Triple S Food Mart had threatened the caller with a gun.

A cellphone video showed an officer pushing Alton B. Sterling (black) onto the hood of the car and tackling him to the ground. Sterling was pinned to the ground by both officers, one kneeling on his chest and the other on his thigh, both attempting to control his arms.

Saying that Sterling had a gun and was going for it, they shot him.

That same night, more than 100 demonstrators shouted “no justice, no peace”, set off fireworks, and blocked an intersection in protest.

An autopsy would indicate that Sterling had died from multiple gunshot wounds to his chest and back.

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

Family reaction

July 6, 2016: community leaders and the family of Alton Sterling held a news conference at Baton Rouge City Hall

Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of Sterling’s eldest son, became very emotional when talking about her Stirling. The 15-year-old boy cried openly while standing by his mother’s side as she addressed the public.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced  that the Department of Justice would launch an investigation.

Mike McClanahan, the leader of the Baton Rouge chapter of the NAACP called for East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden to fire Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie and for Holden to resign.

Black Lives Matter held a candlelight vigil in Baton Rouge, with chants of “We love Baton Rouge” and, called for justice.

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

Philando Castile

Also July 6, 2016: Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black American, was shot and killed by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer, after being pulled over in Falcon Heights, a suburb of Saint Paul.

Castile was in a car with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter when he was pulled over by Yanez and another officer.

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

Police reaction

The Baton Rouge Police Department, Mayor Kip Holden and other officials held a news conference to release new details in the officer-involved shooting death. 

Police identified the officers involved in the shooting and added that Salamoni has been with the force four years, while Lake had been with the department for three.

BRPD said both officers worked in the Uniform Patrol Division. Officials also stated both officers were placed on paid leave immediately after the shooting.

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

Dallas shootings

July 7, a protest was held in Dallas, Texas, relating to the shootings of Sterling and Castile.

At the end of the peaceful protest, Micah Xavier Johnson opened fire  killing five police officers and wounding eleven others including two civilians.  A robot- bomb killed Johnson.

The United States Department of Justice opened a civil rights investigation of the Stirling death.

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

United Nations

July 8,  2016: the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent issued a statement strongly condemning Sterling and Castile’s killings.

Human rights expert Ricardo A. Sunga III, the Chair of the United Nations panel, stated that the killings demonstrate “a high level of structural and institutional racism”. Adding that “The United States is far from recognizing the same rights for all its citizens. Existing measures to address racist crimes motivated by prejudice are insufficient and have failed to stop the killings.” [RT article]

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

Continued protests

July 9, a protest in Baton Rouge turned violent, with one police officer having several teeth knocked out and eight firearms (including three rifles, three shotguns, and two pistols) being confiscated from New Black Panther Party members.

Police arrested 102 people. [NOLA article]

On July 10, between 30 and 40 people were also arrested including African-American Muslim activist Blair Imani.

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

Obama calls

July 11, 2016: President Obama placed a telephone call to the Sterling family to offer his and the First Lady’s condolences on behalf of the American people for the death of their loved one. 

People gathered across Baton Rouge to participate in rallies, vigils and protests since Sterling’s death. A memorial has been growing in honor of Sterling outside the convenience store where the shooting happened.

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

Call for calm

On July 13, local organizing groups and the American Civil Liberties Union’s Louisiana branch, filed a lawsuit against the Baton Rouge Police Department for violating the First Amendment rights of demonstrators. They claim they were protesting peacefully against Sterling’s death.

July 13, 2016: Cameron Sterling, Alton’s oldest son,  held a press conference at the Triple S Food Mart. He pleaded for protesters to remain peaceful. 

Later that same day, President Obama held a meeting in Washington, D.C. Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana State Police, Col. Mike Edmonson attended. The event was aimed at bridging the divide between police and the community. They also discussed police training and tactics. 

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

July 15 funeral

The funeral held the F.G. Clark Center on Southern University’s campus. 

Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson were among the many speakers at the service. 

“We must stop all the killing all the time. No one has the right to kill anyone,” said Rev. Jackson. “For those of you who are listening here and around the world, our strongest violence is not guns and violence. It’s the rightness of our cause.”

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

Law officers killed

July 17, 2016: Gavin Eugene Long shot six police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three died and three were hospitalized, one critically; of the officers who died, two were members of the Baton Rouge Police Department, while the third worked for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.

A SWAT officer killed Long during a shootout.

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

No Charges

April 28, 2017, Mayor-President Sharron Weston Broome released a statement that a decision regarding possible federal charges was expected. She noted that no timeline had been released.

May 2, 2017:  the federal government announced that, officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, the two white police officers in the fatal shooting on the July 5, 2016 of Alton B. Sterling, a black man in Baton Rouge, La would not be charged. The incident caused widespread unrest. State charges were still pending.

June 27, 2017: Sterling’s children sued Baton Rouge. 

The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the fatal shooting was indicative of racist conduct and excessive force by Baton Rouge police.

March 27, 2018:  Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced that police officers would not be prosecuted by the state authorities.

 Landry’s statements were similar to the Justice Department’s May 2, 2017 findings and defended the conduct of the officers, saying, for example, that their efforts to gain control of Sterling’s hands were “well-founded and reasonable under the circumstances and under Louisiana law.” Landry also said the officers were justified in their concern about whether Mr. Sterling was armed.

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

Eventual “consequences”

March 30, 2018: Chief Murphy Paul of the Baton Rouge Police Department announced that Blane Salamoni, who fatally shot Alton B. Sterling was fired. Paul also announced a three-day suspension of Officer Howie Lake II, also involved in the episode. The disciplinary actions were the first serious consequences for the officers after both state and federal officials declined to bring criminal charges against them.

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling

Unrest in Baton Rouge

Inspired by a photo by Jonathan Bachman, Tracy K Smith, the US Poet Laureate,  wrote Unrest in Baton Rouge after, September 2017

“Unrest in Baton Rouge”

Our bodies run with ink dark blood. Or else

It pools in the pavement’s seams.

Is it strange to say love is a language

Few practice, but all, or near all speak?

Even the men in black armor, the ones

Jangling handcuffs and keys, what else

Are they so buffered against, if not love’s blade

Sizing up the heart’s familiar meat?

We watch and grieve. We sleep, stir, eat.

Love: the heart sliced open, gutted, clean.

Love: naked almost in the everlasting street,

Skirt lifted by a different kind of breeze

Baton Rouge Alton CD Man Stirling
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