Police chief names, suspends two officers who shot Alton Sterling; victim’s son breaks down at press conference

The 15-year-old son of police-shooting victim Alton Sterling broke down sobbing on Wednesday, as he joined his mother during a press conference on the deadly incident.

Quinyetta McMillan told reports of the impact the shooting has had on her family, leaving her five children without their loving father who provided for them.

At the beginning of her statement, McMillan spoke of how their oldest son Cameron, 15, has had to watch his father be killed over and over again as the video of his death is shared around the world.

‘He [her son Cameron Sterling] had to watch this as this was put all over the outlets,’ McMillan said. ‘As a mother I have now been forced to raise a son who is going to remember what happened to his father.’

At this point, Cameron’s sobs become louder and louder, to the point that a loved one helps take him off the stage so he can cry away from the cameras.

Cameron is the oldest of Alton Sterling and Quinyetta McMillan's children. His mother says he has had to watch his father die over and over again as the video of the shooting spreads

At one point, the press conference became too much for Cameron and he left to gather his emotions

McMillan continued to speak about her deceased partner, describing him as a man who ‘simply tried to earn a living to take care of his children’.

‘The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis,’ McMillan said.

On Tuesday, the two police officers involved in Sterling’s death were identified as 4-year-old veteran Blane Salamonie and Howie Lake II, a three-year veteran. Both men are on administrative leave.

Meanwhile, the head of the Baton Rouge NAACP in Louisiana has called for the police chief to be fired or resign in the wake of the fatal shooting of a black man during a confrontation at a convenience store.

Michael McClanahan said during a Wednesday morning news conference that Baton Rouge can’t have a leader who ‘allows this type of action to take place.’

A video that purported to show the killing of Sterling further fueled public anger about the shooting early Tuesday, prompting hundreds to protest. A vigil for Sterling is planned for Wednesday night.

Chief Carl Dabadie has not stepped down, and instead held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to update the public on the investigation and ask that protesters gather peacefully.

At an earlier press conference, Justice Department spokesman David Jacobs announced that the DOJ would be handling the civil rights investigation into Sterling’s death.

The Justice Department’s investigation will look into whether the officers willfully violated Sterling’s civil rights through the use of unreasonable or excessive force.

Similar investigations, which often take many months to resolve, were opened following the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York.

Federal investigators must meet a high legal burden to bring a civil rights prosecution, establishing that an officer knowingly used unreasonable force under the circumstances and did not simply make a mistake or use poor judgment. Many federal probes conclude without criminal charges.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards also spoke at the press conference, saying he watched the video of the shooting and found it ‘disturbing to say the least’.

The governor said he understood that protesters were angry over the shooting and called for calm.

Sterling was shot and killed in a confrontation with two police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday, after someone called to complain about a black man selling CDs who had allegedly threatened them with a gun.

The altercation, which played out in the early hours of Tuesday, was captured on video shortly after the officers had pinned Sterling to the ground.

Shocking footage – taken from inside a car just a yard away – shows Sterling being wrestled and thrown on to the ground by officers who then hold him down as he attempts to struggle.

Taser shots can be heard and the officers push Sterling’s head down on to the concrete after shouting: ‘He’s got a gun.’

One officer then appears to draw what looks like a gun and points it at Sterling’s head.

Within seconds gun shots are heard, the woman filming screams and the man next to her shouts ‘Oh shit!’, as more shots are heard.

The screen then goes black and a woman begins hysterically crying as the man asks her: ‘They shot him? Oh my f***ing goodness.’

‘They killed him! Oh my god!’ wails the woman, while someone in the background simply says ‘why’.

An autopsy shows Sterling, 37, of Baton Rouge, died Tuesday of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back, said East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. William Clark.

Officers responded to the store about 12:35 a.m. Tuesday after an anonymous caller indicated a man selling music CDs and wearing a red shirt threatened him with a gun, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely.

Two officers responded and had some type of altercation with the man and one officer fatally shot the suspect, McKneely said. Both officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard department policy, he said.  

A protest was held just hours after the fatal shooting, with crowds gathering at the site of the incident and shouting: ‘Black lives matter.’

The Advocate reported a crowd of people protesting the shooting gathered late Tuesday afternoon at the store where it took place.

The group grew to over 200 people, who chanted ‘black lives matter’ and ‘hands up don’t shoot’ and waved signs late into the night

The store’s owner, Abdul Muflahi, told WAFB-TV that the first officer used a Taser on Sterling and the second officer tackled the man. Muflahi said as Sterling fought to get the officer off of him, the first officer shot him ‘four to six times.’

The owner said Sterling did not have a gun in his hand at the time but he saw officers remove a gun from Sterling’s pocket after the shooting.

Muflahi told the Daily News that Sterling, who has been friends with for six years, bought the firearm days earlier to protect himself after hearing CD sellers had been robbed close by.

‘His hand was not in his pocket, nor did he have the gun in his hand,’ he said.

David Solomon, 60, and Calvin Wilson, 56, told The Advocate they lived with Sterling at the Living Waters Outreach Ministry Drop-In Center, and don’t believe he carried a gun.

Sterling was sentenced to five years in jail for marijuana and weapon possession in 2009 and has reportedly been arrested several times over the past two decades.

Baton Rouge police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely told The Advocate that the officers were wearing body cameras during the shooting but the recording devices apparently came loose during the incident.

U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond, a Democrat who represents Baton Rouge, said the video footage ‘was deeply troubling and has understandably evoked strong emotion and anger in our community’.

‘I share in this anger and join the community in the pursuit of justice. My prayers and thoughts are with Mr Sterling’s family as they deal with this tragedy,’ he said.

Congressman Richmond called the US Department of Justice to conduct a full and transparent investigation into this incident.

‘His family and the citizens of Baton Rouge – especially the citizens of North Baton Rouge – deserve answers and that is what we will seek in a fair, thorough, and transparent way,’ he said.

Source: The DailyMail – Read More

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