The Justice Department Will Open an Investigation into the Police Shooting Death of Alton Sterling

Sterling was shot by Baton Rouge police shortly after midnight on Tuesday.

AP


Louisiana Governor John Bel-Edwards announced Wednesday morning that the Department of Justice’s civil rights division will open an investigation into the police shooting death of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man shot multiple times by a Baton Rouge police officer early Tuesday morning.

The FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office for the Middle District of Louisiana will assist the investigation, Bel-Edwards said.

The governor also called for calm after a night of protests. “The video is disturbing to say the least,” Bel-Edwards said, but “another violent act or destruction of property is not the answer. One family has already been torn apart.”

Sterling was shot shortly after midnight on Tuesday after a person told police a man selling CDs outside a convenience store had allegedly pointed a gun at another person.

Video of the encounter, captured by a bystander in the store’s parking lot, appears to show Sterling being tased twice by an officer who then orders him to the ground after he doesn’t respond to the Taser. Another officer tackles him to the ground, then several shots are heard after an officer yells “Gun!” A gun was later recovered from Sterling’s pocket, according to police officials.

The incident was also captured by the convenience store’s surveillance cameras. Police confiscated the video and the store’s entire surveillance system, the store’s owner told the Baton Rogue local paper, the Advocate. A police official said the officers’ body cameras fell off during the incident.

More than 100 people gathered at the intersection near the convenience store where Sterling was shot late Tuesday night. Among the protesters was Baton Rouge NAACP president Mike McClanahan. McClanahan called for the resignation of the Baton Rouge police chief during a press conference with Sterling’s family Wednesday morning.

THANK YOU.

We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.