The tragic death of Alton Sterling is currently one of the most talked about situations across the nation.
Cellphone video of the 37-year-old being shot to death by a Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officer has many people asking questions, demanding justice, and calling for the resignation of the city’s mayor and police chief.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has now issued an official statement about the Sterling shooting.
“The officers’ actions in the death of Alton Sterling are profoundly disturbing,” says Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of LDF. “We cannot be numb to the relentless police-involved assaults and killings of people of color. Mr. Sterling’s death is horrific to witness and follows an increasingly long line of unjustified police shootings of civilians.”
Ifill adds, “We send our sincere condolences to his family, and join the call for a transparent investigation of the shooting, including the release of any surveillance, dash-cam, or police body-worn camera video.”
A second witness filmed video of the incident has become public. Abdullah Muflahi, the owner of the Triple S Food Mart where the shooting took place, provided the footage to The Daily Beast.
The latest video appears to show Sterling was not holding a gun at the time police shot him. Despite someone yelling about a gun in the video, police officials would not confirm or deny if a weapon was found on Sterling.
According to reports, there is also footage from the convenience store’s surveillance camera and the cop vehicles’ dash camera. However, the body cameras worn by the two officers at the scene allegedly fell off during the take down of Sterling.
The NAACP LDF plans to continue closely monitoring the situation in Baton Rouge and call for unbiased and responsible policing by advancing policies and practices that require:
* Annual collection, disaggregation, and public reporting of arrests; use-of-force; and pedestrian and traffic stop data;
*Training on implicit bias, de-escalation, use of force, adolescent development, and proper interactions with
persons with mental illness and other disabilities;
*Enforcement of these trainings through close monitoring of police conduct and the imposition of disciplinary actions or retraining; and
*Timely investigation and resolution of civilian complaints against police.
The two officers involved, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, have been placed on paid administrative leave. The shooting is now under investigation by the United States Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Watch the second video of the Alton Sterling shooting below (warning graphic).