Baton Rouge NAACP President Demands Arrest Of Police Officers Who Killed Alton Sterling
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, protests and vigils are continuing for a fourth day following the death of Alton Sterling, who was fatally shot by police early Tuesday morning. Sterling was a 37-year-old African-American father of five. The two officers involved are both white. Bystander video shows Sterling was pinned to the ground by two white police officers. One of the officers then shoots Sterling at least twice.
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AMY GOODMAN: In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, protests and vigils are continuing for fourth day following the death of Alton Sterling who was fatally shot by police early Tuesday morning. Sterling was a 37-year-old African American father of five. The two officers involved in his death are both white. Bystander video shows Sterling was pinned to the ground by two white police officers. One of the officers then shoots Sterling at least twice. The audio than captures the sound of multiple additional gunshots. Sterling is at least the 38th person killed by Louisiana police since 2015. The Justice Department has announced it will investigate the killing which has sparked two days a protest. On Thursday, President Obama addressed the Shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, where he is in Warsaw, Poland. PRES. BARACK OBAMA: When incidents like this occur, there is a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels as if, because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same. And that hurts. And that should trouble all of us. This is not just a black issue. It is not just a Hispanic issue. This is an American issue that we should all care about. All fair-minded people should be concerned.
AMY GOODMAN: Joining us now from Baton Rouge, Louisiana is Michael McClanahan, President of the Baton Rouge branch of the NAACP. Still with us, Graham Weatherspoon retired New York City police, and Marc Lamont Hill, author of Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond. Michael McClanahan, thanks so much for joining us. I first saw you on TV in Baton Rouge at the news conference where people had gathered to decry the killing of Alton Sterling. Can you talk about what you understand happened and what you’re calling for right now? What happened on Tuesday?
MICHAEL MCCLANAHAN: Good morning. Thank you for having me on. As I appreciate what happened was Alton Sterling was doing what a lot of young brothers do, as entrepreneurs, sell CD’s, what we call hustle work, to provide for their families. And he had been doing that a for a long time. While on the — while there, I understand that the police department, dispatch office received a call that the gentleman, Alton, was brandishing a gun. They came on the scene. Within a few minutes of arriving on the scene, they tased, jumped on, and shot this gentleman without giving him a reason why they stopping him, without doing in of the training that I have known them to do in terms of where you confront the community. And now, after that has happened, you see many in the community coming out saying, that had happened to me. I was accosted. I was unlawfully detained and beat up, and what have you. So, this is years of frustration, and fear. And as your guests said, denial on other parts that stuff like this just do not happen.
AMY GOODMAN: The police say a call came in just after midnight. They now have identified a homeless man who made this call who said Alton Sterling had a gun. Now, you’re allowed to have a gun in Louisiana, right? Open carry laws.
MICHAEL MCCLANAHAN: Well, you are. You are allowed to carry a weapon. I don’t know to the extent that he had a weapon. But clearly, if the police officers and their training dictated they were gonna arrive on the scene which a weapon might have been involved, that there are certain things that they are trained to do. From what I gather, from my looking at the video, none of that took place.
AMY GOODMAN: What are you calling for now, Mike McClanahan?
MICHAEL MCCLANAHAN: Well, there’s a, there is a culture in the Baton Rouge Police Department that has allowed this type of action to happen for years, for decades. I’m calling for this culture to be rooted out. That means police officers who conduct this type of action need to be brought to justice on other cases. I call for the mayor to step down and for the police chief to resign because the mayor appoints the police chief, really controls the police chief. The police chief is a good friend of mine. But friendship in this type of business has to, has to step aside for the people’s business, which is more important. And I’m asking those that involved, the police chief and the mayor, to resign. So others can come in, root out this evil, root out the one percent of bad police officers that cause these types of harms in our community to be pushed to the side, to be kicked out of the department, and those that want to take serious the business of serve and protect to get about the business of serving and protecting.