By now you have most likely seen the horrible video of Alton Sterling, a 37 year-old black man, husband and father who was shot dead, point blank by a white police officer in Baton Rouge, LA. Every time I see another video of a high-profile shooting death of a black man by white police, I ask myself, “When is this going to stop?”
Now it seems that police don’t even care if they are caught on video shooting people in cold blood, even when the suspect is restrained, and even in broad daylight. Remember Michael Slager, the ex-cop in South Carolina, who was found guilty of murdering Walter Scott, a black man who was unarmed and running away?
White cops are so brazen now with their hatred and racism. To see so many police—sworn to protect and serve citizens—have such disregard for human life is really sickening.
The only thing harder to watch than Sterling‘s murder was his sobbing 15 year-old son at the family press conference. But it was a sight that people need to see. People who are unaffected by systemic racism, those who live sheltered, privileged lives, need to understand the pain that the black community feels on a regular basis. They need to understand that Sterling was a real man, and his family is suffering a real loss, that he was important and there are people who love and care about him.
No matter what police or the media might try to emphasize about Sterling—being arrested in the past for drug possession—the fact is he did not deserve to be gunned down like this.
Like knowing the ending of a movie in advance, the beginnings of Sterling’s case is playing out very predictably so far. The officers involved, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, have been placed on administrative leave. Family members are calling for Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. to step down. Dabadie has refused, but promised his department will get to the bottom of everything.
Police say Sterling had a gun, although you cannot see one from the video. And although the officers were equipped with body cameras, they claim the cameras “fell off” in their scuffle to subdue Sterling to the ground. How convenient.
The Dept. of Justice will be looking into the case, and I have faith that their investigation will not be in the department’s favor. There will be more protests in the streets, commentary from #BlackLivesMatter members and civil rights leaders. We know the scenario. We have been here too many times before.