Several people including La. officials react to shooting death o - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Several people including La. officials react to shooting death of Alton Sterling

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

There has been a large social media reaction to the officer-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling, 37.

Sterling's name quickly became the number one trending topic on Facebook and Twitter Wednesday. 1.4 million tweets with the hashtag, #AltonSterling, have been seen in the last 24 hours.

Celebrities and athletes such as Patricia Arquette, Justin Timberlake, Colin Kaepernick, Andy Richter, Russel Simmons, Jordin Sparks, Amy Schumer, Christina Perri, and MC Hammer all sent out their support and condolences.

RELATED: Protests continue as FBI takes over investigation of Alton Sterling shooting

In the wake of Sterling's death, many local and national leaders and groups have released statements in response to the incident, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. 

F. King Alexander, LSU president, released this statement:

The shooting of Alton Sterling has placed Baton Rouge among one of many cities across the country grappling with questions of social equality and justice. As additional information comes out about this tragic event, LSU will reach out through the Office of Diversity with opportunities to facilitate campus-wide discussion, participation, and feedback. We also encourage you to take advantage of university resources, including LSU’s Division of Student Life, the African American Cultural Center, the Women’s Center, and the Student Health Center.

State Representative candidate, Jordan W. Turner, wrote the following statement to Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie:

As you are aware, a 48-second video clearly depicts one or more officers shooting Mr. Sterling
when he is apprehended and on the ground. This was deeply troubling for me to watch. As we
repeatedly hear in other similar situations, some may exclaim “we don’t know the whole story,”
or “but someone said he threatened them.” The truth is, it doesn’t matter what the previous
allegations were. What matters is what the individual was doing at the time officers responded.
If we allowed police to shoot and kill random citizens over alleged previous actions, there would
be chaos. We are a nation of laws. And yes, believe it or not, police officers must follow the law
as well.

This isn’t my first time writing this kind of letter. In fact, I’ve probably written dozens of them. I
will continue doing so until we start holding police officers accountable for their actions. We must
end the pattern of practice of blindly supporting police officers whose actions run afoul of the
law.

There are some who continuously attack me every time I write these kinds of letters, and that’s
their right. There are those who call me “anti-police.” But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, I’ve presented awards to various police departments for their bravery and dedication to
helping others. Criticizing or suggesting that police officers could have handled the situation
differently doesn’t mean that I’m “anti-police,” just the opposite, actually.

Please terminate the employment of Mr. Salamoni and Mr. Lake II. They are truly a disgrace to
the uniform and our country. I’d ask that they be arrested and charged with murder, but we know
that people in uniform don’t get arrested in the United States. 

Louisiana Progress Action, a group that works towards progressive movement in the state, said: 

We strongly support the call from Governor Edwards and countless other public officials and community leaders for an independent, transparent investigation of the shooting. At this time, the investigation has been handed over to the US Department of Justice to prevent missteps and bias. However, members of the Baton Rouge community still have a critical part to play in demanding #JusticeForAltonSterling. Our community deserves a thorough investigation and answers about the response of the local police.

MomsRising, a group of mothers taking on critical issues, said:

MomsRising members are heartbroken for the family of Alton Sterling, and deeply disturbed by his killing at the hands of police. No mother should ever have to explain to her children that their father will not be coming home because he was killed by police, for no reason other than being a black man in America.  And yet, tragically, Sterling is the 114th Black man to be killed by police in the U.S. just this year. This is not okay. 

"While we are encouraged by the Justice Department’s swift announcement of an investigation into Sterling’s murder, our nation has a long way to go to end racial profiling and police brutality that makes a black man 21 times more likely to be killed by police than a white man. MomsRising members will continue to support those tirelessly fighting for justice, and long-overdue reforms to end police violence against Black people in America.  #BlackLivesMatter.

Caroline Fayard, a U.S. Senate candidate, said:

The video footage showing the death of Alton Sterling is greatly concerning, and the visceral reaction to this disturbing incident is justified. As we await the answers to many questions still surrounding this tragedy, my first thoughts and condolences are with Mr. Sterling’s family, especially his five children.

I am pleased with the decision to allow the United States Department of Justice to oversee the investigation, and also that the Baton Rouge Police Department has stated it is fully cooperating. This is a time for public displays of unity in our commitment to a full and impartial investigation. We must stand firm in our resolve that justice must be served.

Dr. Joseph Bouie Jr., the chairman of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, had this to say: 

Regrettably, today, is another sad day in the American landscape where there is gun violence and to a larger concern, how we arrived at this tragic moment, yet, once again.

Josh Pellerin, a U.S. Senate candidate, said:

I am absolutely devastated by the loss of Alton Sterling. Kiley and myself mourn for his family, his friends, and his loved ones. We offer to them our deepest and most sincere condolences. I am appalled by the lack of interest exhibited by our elected officials. It is both outrageous and angering to me personally to think that our leaders and candidates for elected office are willing to spend hours and days focused on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but ignore the tragedies occurring in our own communities. I applaud the hard work and efforts of Congressman Cedric Richmond that have resulted in the Justice Department announcing the launch of an investigation into the events that led to this catastrophe. Together, we can find justice for Alton’s family and seek a better future for our families. We cannot remain divided by petty differences, but rather we must stand for what is right because together we stand, but divided we fall.

Marjorie Esman, the director of the Louisiana ACLU, made the following statement:

Alton Sterling was shot to death while he was on the ground and two police officers were on top of him. Sadly, Mr. Sterling is the 122nd Black person to be killed by U.S. law enforcement this year. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and the city of Baton Rouge.

As we await a full accounting of the shooting, questions abound: Why did the officer shoot—multiple times—when Mr. Sterling was already being subdued? How did Mr. Sterling end up with gunshots in his chest and his back? What happened to cause both officers’ body cameras to fall off during the same incident?

Whatever the answers to these specific questions may be, they will not explain or excuse the continued use of excessive force by law enforcement officers across the country, particularly against people of color. We stand in solidarity with Mr. Sterling’s family and look forward to answers from the Department of Justice’s investigation of the shooting.

United States Attorney Walt Green announced the following:

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. The Justice Department will collect all available facts and evidence and conduct a fair, thorough, and impartial investigation. As this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time.

Foster Campbell, another U.S. Senate candidate, had this to say:

I fully support the outside, independent investigation of the Alton Sterling shooting by the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. I am hopeful we are able to come together as a community to get through this difficult time as more facts emerge.

19th Judicial District Attorney Hillar C. Moore said:

The death of any human being is a tragedy that all persons are legally required to avoid. When laws are broken and a death occurs, law enforcement agencies are called to respond and investigate the circumstances of the death and forward their reports to the District Attorney to determine whether any person is criminally responsible. When law enforcement is responsible for the death, they must immediately report the death to the District Attorney who then joins in all critical stages of the investigation. This protocol has been followed in this case and remains one of the most serious responsibilities of the District Attorney. I will continue to ensure the public is informed about all stages in this investigation.

U.S. Congressman Cedric L. Richmond made the following statement:

The pain felt by Mr. Sterling’s family is severe and the right of his community to have significant questions answered is pressing. For that reason I am asking you to launch a full investigation into the shooting death of Alton Sterling to uncover what, if any, violations were committed by the officers involved. 

Senator Karen Carter Peterson, chair of the Louisiana State Democratic Party, released this statement:

We are deeply saddened, and just as deeply disturbed, by the shooting death of Alton Sterling and the events surrounding his death. The video footage that we have all seen by now depicts an extremely troubling, horrifying incident and leaves many questions unanswered. We stand with the community in sadness and in the demand for answers.

We call on the Baton Rouge Police Department to address the questions raised in the video immediately, and with full transparency. And we call on our fellow Louisianans across the state to stand with the community in this moment of crisis. As a party, we ask people to pray for the family left behind, and for the community seeking answers.

Equality Louisiana had this to say:

Equality Louisiana stands in solidarity with Alton Sterling’s family, the Baton Rouge community, and the Black Lives Matter movement as we mourn the loss of another life taken by police brutality. 

We agree with State Representative Ted James in "calling for Chief Dabadie to layout the department’s body camera policy for public view and scrutiny. In instances where the proper operation of cameras is interfered with, punishment must be clear and severe. Those cameras are the eyes and ears of this community.

Baton Rouge Metro Councilman John Delgado said the following:

Tragedies can divide us but they can also unite us. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Alton Sterling and with all who are directly impacted by his death early yesterday, but I am also praying for our entire city - those who didn't know Mr. Sterling or the police officers personally but whose emotions, attitudes and perceptions are still impacted. That includes all of us.

Police Chief Carl Dabadie, District Attorney Hillar Moore and other law enforcement agencies must carry out a full, fair and open investigation into this event. The public must be kept informed of each step along the way. The people of Baton Rouge are demanding the truth and we deserve the truth, no matter what the investigation shows. We all must also accept, however, that examining the details of Tuesday's shooting will take time, and we have to be patient as it runs its course.  

While we wait, we must unite under the rule of law. If we gather in protest, it must be peaceful. The world is watching to see if we devolve into chaos or unite and emerge with an ever stronger commitment to justice.  I have faith. I believe in the people of Baton Rouge. Let us come together now. Let us seek answers and learn the facts. And once the truth is known, we will take action - together, as one Baton Rouge.

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