Sunday, July 10, 2016

New video shows two police officers straddling Alton Sterling before shooting him - as it emerges one of the cops had been suspended for shooting another suspect

A man with a criminal record was shot as he refused to submit and struggled to escape

New video footage has emerged showing the fatal police shooting of 37-year-old black man Alton Sterling

The graphic footage shows Sterling being thrown to the ground by cops Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after they received a complaint about a man making threats with a gun while selling CDs.

The cops are seen yelling at Sterling to 'get on the ground' - but he does not - before he is tackled by the officers.

As Sterling continues to move on the ground, the officer believed to be Lake reaches for his gun and then points it at the father-of-five's chest.

One of the officers then yells at Sterling: 'You f****** move and I swear to God...'

Less than two seconds later, the first shot is heard, followed quickly by another as the startled store owner turns the camera away from the gruesome scene. Three more shots are heard as the clip ends.

Another video also captured the moment Sterling was shot, with a woman heard screaming as gunfire is heard.

The shop owner who was taking the video moved the camera away from the gruesome scene as the shots were heard

The new video - shot by the convenience store's owner - offers a different angle of the attack, offering a clearer picture of Salamoni and Lake as one straddled and the other pinned Sterling to the ground before shots were fired.  

Another video, shot from a nearby car, is more blurry but captures the horror as customers watch Sterling get shot.

Police told The Advocate that the officers were wearing body cameras during the shooting but the recording devices apparently came loose during the incident.  

It was also revealed on Wednesday that Lake, a three-year-veteran of the force, was previously put on administrative leave for his involvement in another police killing in December 2014, but later reinstated to the force.

Both Salamoni and Lake have been put on administrative leave as the fatal shooting is investigated. On Wednesday, a Department of Justice spokesman announced that the agency would be looking into whether the two police officers violated any civil liberties.

Sterling's death has caused widespread protests in Baton Rouge, and adds to the long list of police-involved shootings sweeping the nation - including the other high-profile cases of Eric Garner in New York City and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri

At a press conference on Wednesday, Sterling's widow spoke about the impact his death has had on her family, as the oldest of their five children - 15-year-old Cameron - broke down into hysterical sobs.

'He [her son Cameron Sterling] had to watch this as this was put all over the outlets,' Quinyetta McMillan said. 'As a mother I have now been forced to raise a son who is going to remember what happened to his father.'  Cameron had to be removed from the press conference by a relative.

Ms 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,' she said.

The head of the Baton Rouge NAACP in Louisiana has called for Baton Rouge's police chief Carl Dabadie to be fired or resign in the wake of the fatal shooting.  Michael McClanahan said Baton Rouge cannot have a leader who 'allows this type of action to take place'.

Dabadie has not stepped down and instead pleaded with the hundreds of protesters taking to the streets following Sterling's death to demonstrate peacefully.

The Department of Justice will investigate whether 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 previous shootings of black men by white police officers.

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.

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. Mr 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 New York Daily News that Sterling, who he 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.

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.

Original report here

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