The widow of police shooting victim Alton Sterling condemned trouble on Wednesday that led to officers opening fire with stun guns as the CD seller’s first death anniversary was marred by angry protests.
Police in Baton Rouge pepper-sprayed demonstrators and used tasers as they made seven arrests as anger erupted over Sterling’s death while pinned to the ground by two officers a year ago today.
The arrests came after demonstrators attempted to break through barriers outside Baton Rouge police headquarters.
Baton Rouge police later issued a photograph which apparently showed a black panther holding a taser during the clashes.
But protesters said police fired tasers and stun guns unnecessarily as they tried to exercise their right to enter a police station.
Members of the New Black Panther Party had arrived earlier in the day to lead the demonstrations.
Sterling, 37, was shot last July as he lay on the ground pinned down by two police officers and his dying moments was caught on cell phone video which led to the officers being suspended.
But the woman who had three children with Sterling, speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, said she did not condone the confrontations with police.
‘This is a sad day…a sad day. It is already difficult enough with Alton gone and our three children missing their daddy every day,’ said Andrika Williams Sterling.
‘I understand people are angry about the way Alton died and the police ain’t never gonna come before the court for it. But I can’t condone any violence or trouble. It should not happen.
‘I have had to move out of Baton Rouge because of what happened to Alton. The grief was too much. But Alton was a peaceful man. He wouldn’t want anybody getting hurt on his behalf.’
Police are on alert for the next three days with consecutive days of protest planned, aware that three officers were shot dead in Baton Rouge in the aftermath of Sterling’s death last year.
Denise Marcell, a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives said of today’s clashes: ‘ I think it was unnecessary but there’s a lot of unrest and uncertainty here in Baton Rouge.
‘I don’t want to see any more trouble and just for things to calm down. No more officers need to die and no more citizens.
‘ I like to say I am optimistic but I am not sure what is going to happen.
‘People want justice here and to be treated fairly as tax payers and citizens. But there are a lot of questions that need to be answered over Alton Sterling’s death.’
Tax accountant Ron Ceaser, a supporter of the new Black Panther movement, said of the clashes: ‘What we saw today was the white man once again treating the black man as his slave.
‘It was totally unjustified and meant to put people in their place when all they were doing was protesting on a public street.
‘I know for sure that the word is going round tonight about what happened and in the next few days there will be a few hundred more Black Panthers here.
‘There’s already a hundred in town. And people are getting angrier and angrier. We have to fight for people like Alton Sterling.’
The anger in Baton Rouge led to violent protests across the US and to a madman going berserk with a rifle in Dallas, shooting dead five officers and wounding nine in the days after Sterling’s death.
Micah Xavier Johnson was later killed by police after a siege in Dallas city center.
On Wednesday night four men and three women were detained in Parish Prison accused of entering and remaining after being forbidden, and resisting an officer.
One officer was injured by a stun gun and left with a bleeding arm, but it was unclear whether he was hurt by police fire.
The resentment against police among protesters had deepened last month when the Department of Justice decided to not press charges against the officers involved in the struggle with Sterling.
Andricka Williams Sterling had told DailyMail.com earlier this year: ‘Pray God they tell us the truth about how Alton died.
‘I believe he was murdered and I want justice and nothing less than that. They shot him dead like he was some animal.’
Sterling’s Aunt Sandra, 51, who brought him up from childhood when his mother died from cancer, said police had failed to release dash cam video or police vehicle audio.
Sterling’s death was captured on cell phone by shop keeper Abdullah Muflahi who said police had seized his own CCTV film and equipment and he was involved in legal action to recover the equipment and video.
‘Luckily I got the cellphone film and the whole world saw how Alton was killed. He was shot while he was on the ground and wasn’t threatening anybody.’
Sandra Sterling added: ‘In any case we are in an open carrying state if Alton had a gun, which I don’t believe he did, why would he try and hide it from the police when they went to him.
Andrika Williams Sterling added: ‘The children miss their daddy every day.
‘Alton Jnr who is six asks all the time when his daddy coming home. I gave to distract him because he too young to understand he ain’t never coming back.’
The two officers involved in Sterling’s shooting Howie Lake II and Blane Salamoni remain on paid leave.