March to La. State Capitol marks day 6 of protests

Wesley United Methodist Church holds youth-led rally to State Capitol
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

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Day six of protests in Baton Rouge begin with a peace march in downtown Baton Rouge.

Hundreds arrived in downtown at the Wesley United Methodist Church to march to the Louisiana State Capitol. They began marching shortly before 4 p.m.

This is the second march to the State Capitol in the days following the death of Alton Sterling. The first happened Saturday evening and the speakers emphasized peace, unity and reforms to the justice system.

The protest started at the same time Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards held a press conference to provide updates on security concerns related to other protests that resulted in over 130 arrests. All of those arrested were at the Baton Rouge Police Headquarters.

Prominent Black Lives Matters activist Deray Mckesson and several journalists were among the many charged with obstruction of a roadway.

RELATED: National BLM activist released from prison following arrest at BR protest

Protesters first started gathering outside of the Triple S Food Mart on North Foster Drive, where Sterling was killed, since Tuesday afternoon. Organizers moved the protests to the BRPD headquarters Friday afternoon, saying they wanted to get the police's attention.

On July 5, police received a call claiming a man was threatening someone with a gun outside of the Triple S Food Mart. Officials said after arriving on the scene, Officer Blane Salamoni and Officer Howie Lake II got in an altercation with Sterling, 37, who was allegedly outside the store selling CDs.

The store owner, who witnessed the shooting, said things quickly got out of control. One officer used a stun gun on Sterling, then the other officer tackled Sterling to the ground. He added that the officers shot Sterling four to six times shortly after he was tackled. An autopsy revealed that Sterling died of multiple gunshot wounds to his back and chest.

Officials said both officers had on body cameras but they fell off during the struggle and do not show the shooting. However, authorities were analyzing dash cam video and store surveillance video, which are believed to have captured the ordeal.

The investigation was handed over to the FBI Wednesday, and East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said on Thursday the DA's office would not make a move on the case until the federal investigators wrapped up their investigation.

Both officers were placed on administrative leave after the shooting, which is standard procedure. The DA said both officers said they felt their actions were justified just after the shooting.

The 9News Investigators learned from a source that Officer Blane Salamoni, a four-year veteran of the force, was the only officer to fire during the shooting, according to a preliminary investigation by Baton Rouge police.

The 9News Investigators also found complaints of force filed against the two officers in their histories with BRPD's Internal Affairs.

A documentary crew arrived to the Triple S Food Mart just in time to record the shooting of Alton Sterling on a cell phone. The video, which surfaced on Tuesday evening, shows a portion of the struggle and the shooting.

Another cell phone video from a private citizen emerged Wednesday afternoon. The graphic video, which was shot from a much closer distance, shows the two Baton Rouge police officers struggling with Sterling.

Sterling has a prior history with police including felony arrests.


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