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Saturday, 09 July 2016 00:49

Alton Sterling: It Happened Again?

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On Tuesday morning, a witness recorded  and released a video of the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana re-igniting the blacklivesmatter debate. 

 
Abdullah Muflahi, Owner of the Triple S Food Mart, where Sterling was killed explained what he saw to CNN. 
 
"They told him not to move," Muflahi said. "He was asking them what he did wrong."
 
He further reported that the officers then used a stun gun on Sterling at least once before shooting. Both got on top of him, and one ordered him not to move, he said.
 
The one closest to Sterling's legs yelled "gun," he said, and the shots followed.
 
If you watched the video it starts with what sounds like two gun shots and one officer tackling Sterling to the ground. Other evidence being reviewed includes video footage from the Triple S Food Mart security cameras and nearby traffic cameras. For now Muflahi’s statements are the closest thing to a full account.
 
However, there is a lot of evidence to be analyzed and these investigation into police tend to be drawn out.  
 
After the incident protesters showed up as they have at similar incidents demanding justice for Sterling. Not only were protesters upset by the incident a lot of actors and Hip-Hop artists took to their social media accounts to vent their frustrations.
 
“These fucking pigs murdered #AltonSterling in cold blood. Shot him in his face,” Talb Kweli, tweeted.
 
Radio personality, Charlemagne Tha God tweeted “Said it once and I'll say it a million times. As a black American I fear the police way more than Isis,” echoing the sentiment of black Americans that fear that police are recklessly killing black people.
 
Many debate that this incident is a result of an excessive use of force by the police officers. Citing the Eric Garner case as an example of when police have overreacted to a small offense resulting in the death of a civilian. 
 
How does this happen? 
 
Most police are trained to follow what’s called a “continuum of force” when it comes to deciding how much force to use in any situation. The National Institute of Justice gives an example of a how a typical use of force continuum works: 
 
  • Officer presence, no force is used. 
  • Verbalization, Force is not-physical and comes in the form of commands that escalate to fit the situation.   
  • Empty-hand Control, which includes the soft and hard techniques that range from holds to kicks and punches. 
  • Less-lethal methods is limited to anything else the officer has such as pepper spray, batons, tasers, or anything else that would not normally be fatal.  
  • Lethal Force is the final level and this is when an officer has the right to use whatever force necessary to stop an individuals actions.
 
This story is still developing and many people are waiting for updates on the investigation to see if what the officers did was illegal. Carl Dabadie Jr., the Chief of Police of Baton Rouge, Louisianna released a statement to CNN saying "like you, there is a lot that we do not understand, and at this point, like you, I am demanding answers.”
 
It was also reported that the mayor describes Baton Rouge “as an inclusive community with top-ranked police, fire and emergency medical services.”
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