R.I.P. Alton Sterling
I watched another Black man murdered at the hands of police officers today. His crime? Selling CD’s while Black. In a story much similar to the tragic tale of Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, father of 5 has been taken away from his family. All for an infraction that would have garnered him no more than probation probably had he been allowed his day in court. However, like numerous other Black men in the last 2 years alone, he wasn’t allowed that day in court. He was tried, convicted and executed in the streets like an animal for the world to watch.
The Washington Post has now added Alton Sterling to the list of at LEAST 505 people who have died at the hands of police officers in America SO FAR IN 2016. Just in the first 6 months of the year alone. These people we pay to “protect and serve” have now become paid thugs and vigilantes.
I need you to remember the history of this great country of America. The one “our” country wanted us to celebrate just two days ago. We have to remember this is COMMON PRACTICE in AmeriKKKa. That when a Negro gets too uppity, too above himself, too industrious or started taking money out of a white mans pocket, they killed him. Not only that but they would hang his body from a tree, a bridge, wherever they could for the other Negroes to see and remember. This has been a tactic used for generations and it hasn’t stopped.
Racism is alive and well in 2016, it permeates our society. The KKK leaders may have stopped wearing their robes and marching regularly but they’re around. They’re bouncing their grandkids on their knee as they tell stories of hanging Niggers and burning down their businesses and homes. They’re sitting on the highest courts in our country, like recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Scalia who said that Black people didn’t need to go to the same colleges as white because the education was over our heads. They are our police chiefs and captains, they are business owners who employ thousands and NBA owners like Donald Sterling. They are men of influence who pass their bigotry down from generation to generation.
Integration is the way of life, mixed couples are everywhere and even the president is of mixed heritage. Racism would have ended by now if there was not something and someone keeping it afloat. Just as white people have passed down legacies at schools, and inheritances of fortune and businesses they have passed down a way of life. Don’t even think for one moment they didn’t. There is a reason so many whites think Black lives are disposable, it’s taught at home.
There’s a group of people who will tell you Black people keep racism alive because we constantly bring up the past. Or that pointing out the inequality we still face today is racist. I have to use more than one hand to count how many Black men I have personally witnessed on video murdered at the hands of police officers in the last 3 years. Off the top of My head the names Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, LaQuan McDonald, Eric Garner and now Alton Starling. That’s 6 and the names keep going. I have had to watch the bodies of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin lie dead, uncovered, un-respected as a reminder of what comes from not obeying a white man who feels he has authority.
You do remember Trayvon Martin right, whose only crime was going out at night for skittles and a soda. A CHILD who was gunned down for looking suspicious while visiting his father. Why is he dead? A lighter person who felt he had another over this lil “thug nigger” felt he could stop a stranger and question his validity to be in the area.
So here we are again. When I had planned to write about the story of the off duty cop who shot a man and killed him in a road rage incident; I have to tell you this story instead.
You’d have to had your head buried in the sand for the last 48 hours to have heard anything at all about Alton Sterling. He is the latest Black man to be killed on video by police and the video is sparking outrage all over. Sterling was shot at point blank range in his chest and back by a white police officer WHILE ON THE GROUND RESTRAINED by other white police officer. Alton Sterling’s death has been ruled a homicide by the east Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William “Beau”Clark.
What sparked this altercation with police? An UNKNOWN caller reported that a man had just threatened him.
Sterling was a well known figure in his community, he was recognized as the “c.d. man.” Sterling was not trespassing nor loitering, as reported by Shaun King of the New York Daily News, the store owner had given Alton Sterling permission to sell c.d.’s outside his store. The store owner even confirmed to King that police officers immediately confiscated his security cam footage.
The official story so far is officers responded to a call “from a complainant who stated that a black male who was selling music c.d.’s and wearing a red shirt threatened him with a gun” outside the Triple S Food Mart. When police arrived Sterling had a gun and was subdued by police and subsequently shot.
The video leads you to question the official story. See Had the officers initially thought ( due to call) or saw ( with their own eyes) that Sterling was armed why would they charge him and try to put him on the ground. That is not protocol for engaging an armed suspect. But once detained and pinned down and the officers yells gun then he is shot at point blank range. Okay even if there was a gun at this point having a gun is not cause for death. Having a gun in Louisiana where it’s legal to have a concealed weapon as long as i you’re over the the of 17, is not punishable by death. Sterling, being a ex con he may not have had permission to have a gun and if that is the case then he should have had his day in court. I can guarantee you his sentence for an unauthorized gun would not have been death.
As you can see the video starts with police standing a few feet from Sterling. A loud pop is heard. ( Later it is said by a witness they used a stun gun)
“Get on the ground!” a police officer yelled.
“Get on the ground!” the voice yelled again, followed by a second pop.
Sterling did not drop to the ground as told.
A police officer tackled him over the hood of a car, then onto the ground.
Meanwhile, another restrained his left arm behind his back and knelt on it pinning Sterling down.
“He’s got a gun!” someone yelled. ( Now the gun is noticed. HOWEVER remember it is being said they responded to the call of a man with a gun. Up until this moment no gun is mentioned nor are they acting like they are approaching an armed man. What officer lunges and at tackles a man that he thinks is armed?)
Both officers drew their pistols from their holsters. In the video, Sterling is still pinned down.
Then, the officers shouted something unintelligible, which seemed to include the phrase “going for the gun.”
Two noises that sounded like shots rang out immediately after.
The person who was recording on his cellphone was in instant shock, dropping the phone. The camera still picked up the audio that followed.
“Oh, s—,” someone said.
Three more shot-like sounds rang out.
“They shot him?”
“Oh, my f—ing goodness.”
Alton Sterling was pronounced DOA when the paramedics arrived on the scene. How could he not be, he was pinned to the ground and shot at point blank range. It should be noted that both officers were wearing body cameras and cars had dash cameras the store owner says police also took surveillance footage from his store and seized his entire video system.
Blane Salamoni, a four-year veteran, and Howie Lake, a three-year veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department have been named as the officers involved in the murder of Alton Sterling.
Sterling’s aunt, who raised him as her own after his mother’s death heard about the shooting right away form a neighbor who saw the whole thing. After the phone call she raced to the scene where all she could see is legs behind a parked car. She asked officers if that was her son and as she tried to move closer was threatened with tasers. She told The Washington Post that officers actually brandished their tasers at her as she grieved and tried to find out if that was her loved one dead on the ground.
“It was terrible,” she said. “I didn’t know if he was dead.”
Abdullah Muflahi, the owner of the store that Sterling was shot in front of witnessed the whole event. “They [The Police] were really aggressive with him from the start, he told one news outlet. He went on to say that an officer shot Sterling with a stun gun but Sterling stayed on his feet. Police then tackled him and pinned him down. One yelled “gun,” then one fired four to six shots into Sterling.
“His hand was nowhere near his pocket,” Muflahi has said. Then, Muflahi said that the officer who fired the shots began cursing and that both seemed to be “freaking out.” Muflahi then tells of hearing one of the cops say “Just leave him” according the to The Washington Post.
In the most damning statement Abdullah Muflahi told the Advocate that after officers shot Sterling he witnessed them take the gun out of his pocket.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said in a press conference wednesday, “We want to know what happened, we want to know the truth,” He added, “At this point, like you, I am demanding answers, like you all, my prayers are with this community and the family and loved ones of Mr Sterling.”
Within hours of the shooting hundreds of people gathered outside the store calling for justice. The crowd held signs with phrases such as “Justice for Alton” and “#NoJusticeNoPeace” scrawled on them in black sharpie and chanted familiar phrases like “Black Lives Matter”
The justice department is investigating. I’m not enthused, the Justice Department investigated Hillary Clinton too and look at how that crook is about to be president.
“The FBI’s New Orleans Division, the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana have opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Alton Sterling,” Justice Department spokesman David Jacobs, said in a statement. “The Justice Department will collect all available facts and evidence and conduct a fair, thorough and impartial investigation.”
Wednesday morning the local NAACP president, Michael McClanahan, called for the police chief to resign.
“What I’m calling for today is that the chief law enforcement officer to fire the police chief.” McClanahan added, “He must step down. We cannot have anybody who allows this type of action to take place.”
Sterling had been living for the past few months at the Living Waters Outreach Ministries, a transitional living center and shelter. He was regarded as a gentle giant who looked out for everyone around him.
Officers can not continue with the “ I feared for my life” bull they keep trying to spit when good samaritans have cameras and aren’t afraid to use them. However, we as a society have seen this replay itself over over. The officers will be placed on paid leave, there will be an investigation, the shooting will be found justified somehow. Another Black man will die at the hands of police, restart cycle. I ask is it time it time to do more than just talk yet? Is it time to actually revolutionize? To start seeing that not only do we pay for everything that’s happening to us with our tax money and supporting business outside our communities. That makes us part of the problem by not being our OWN solution.
Why are we letting people who think of us as animals lead and police us? Why aren’t more Black people seeking higher political offices so things can’t be so easily swept under the rug? Why are people so blind that we will follow Jay Z and Beyonce to the end of the earth but not follow the lead of those who are trying to change the way we as a Black community function? Why aren’t we building, taking care of and policing our own communities?
Why are we killing off our own soldiers? Do you know why white people laugh at the Black Lives Matters movement? They laugh because they know that no matter how strong it becomes that the common day negro is just as brainwashed as the latter day slave. They know that too many Black people are a slave to their designer clothes and shoes, to hair that costs hundreds of dollars, to popping bottles and reality t.v. to come together and be a strong entity. United we stand, divided we fall and THEY know that. It’s a lesson we still haven’t learned. A cop can easily get away with shooting whoever he wants if the ones investigating him, the ones prosecuting him, the ones presiding over his case and the jury are his peers and share the same goals.
Why can’t we share the same goal of building strong communities where this can not happen? If we as a people were stronger this could not keep happening. If they were truly coming into OUR community to cause trouble it could be handled “appropriately” but it isn’t our community….yet. Is it time to take a stand yet?