Protesters in Baton Rouge, many of whom were chanting “black lives matter,” took to the streets of New Orleans to rally against a police fatal shooting of a black man, Alton Sterling, 37, during a struggle outside a local store.
Sterling, who had a substantial criminal record – including incarceration for drugs and weapon charges – was selling music in the streets by the store when police received a call from an anonymous individual that he had a gun, the New York Daily News reported. Police responded to the scene, and after an encounter and struggle, shot and killed him.
Cell phone video of the incident showed one officer tackling Sterling and wrestling him against the hood of a nearby car, and then throwing him to the ground. The two police officers then pin him to the ground, while one shouts, “He’s got a gun,” and the other, “You f—g move, I swear to God,” the New York Daily News reported, citing the video.
The camera lens then moves away from the struggle, but five shots can be heard, the newspaper reported. And then a man’s voice on the video says, “They shot him?” And a woman replies, “yes.” Sterling died from at least two bullet wounds, officials said.
As the New York Daily News reported, Sterling – who was carrying a weapon – had a criminal background that included arrests or convictions over the last 20 years for drugs, firearm violations, theft and assault. In 2009, he was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of marijuana and a weapon.
Shortly after video of the struggle emerged, protesters launched a rally.
Hundreds stormed the streets near the site of Sterling’s death.
“We’ve seen a video that’s disturbing and gruesome,” said Mike McClanahan, the president of the Baton Rouge chapter of the NAACP, the Advocate reported. “We know that justice must be served.”
Among the chants of the protesters were mantras repeated at similar rallies around the nation in the last couple years, including “black lives matter” and “hands up, don’t shoot.”
The Advocate reported the protesters grew tense, driving their cars and trucks into intersections to block off traffic. And they vowed more to come.
“I came out because I felt frustrated,” said Nicholas Belson, 23, who recently graduated from LSU, the Advocate reported. “You just feel like you have to do something. I live here. Once it starts hitting where you live, you start feeling the fear.”
The Huffington Post reported the two officers were placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation.