The shooting death of Anton Sterling by Baton Rouge police is drawing heavy return fire from the music community, including Public Enemy rapper Chuck D.
Please note: this is a developing story; please check back for ongoing developments.
Just hours after an extended July 4th weekend, America is being confronted with another ugly situation involving police violence. This time, the incident involves Anton Sterling, a black man killed by police in Baton Rouge under suspicious circumstances. Sterling, referred to as the ‘CD Man’ by locals, routinely sold CDs and DVDs outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge but was gunned down after police responded to reports of an altercation.
Right now, the Baton Rouge Police Department has place two officers on paid administrative leave, while video and audio of the incident are being reviewed.
The violent brawl with police is also being reviewed by the entire internet, which is collectively asking the question, ‘where was the gun?’ Sterling was allegedly carrying a gun at the time of the incident, and had brandished the firearm in an earlier altercation that was called in. That prompted the police response, though so far, no evidence that a gun was being used — or even existed — has emerged.
Already, mass protests are emerging, with hundreds reportedly assembling. That raises the very serious chance of violent altercations, a meltdown America has witnessed many times before.
This is the video clip that has emerged, which shows a bystander scream out ‘he’s got a gun!’ That gun doesn’t appear in the video, but one report suggests Sterling had a weapon in his pocket (warning: this is violent).
The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division is already involved in this investigation, with Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards issuing a statement this morning. Edwards indicated that he has spoken with the Baton Rouge police chief, Louisiana state police, Sterling’s family members, and the White House, among others, with the intention to ‘move forward in a deliberate, methodical way.”
Speaking to members of the media, Edwards urged calm while ‘serious concerns’ unearthed in the video were investigated. “I’m urging everyone to remain peaceful, another violent act or destruction of property is not the answer,” Edwards stated. “We already have one family torn apart.”
Meanwhile, protests are gaining steam and could spill over into violence. The rap community is also joining a chorus of critics, and demanding action. That includes local rapper Boosie Badazz, who urged justice while quoting author Zora Neale Hurston. “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it. ZNH,” Badazz tweeted.
Big Boi has also chimed in, with Chuck D offering the sharpest rebuke. Criticizing a ‘sick sport of police brutality,’ D blasted CNN for failing to cover the incident despite the very real possibility of police misconduct.
Separately, the Baton Rouge Police Department has issued this statement on the incident.
Baton Rouge Police are investigating an officer involved shooting that occurred around 12:35am this morning at 2112 North Foster Dr, Triple S Food Mart. Uniformed officers responded to a disturbance call from a complainant who stated that a black male who was selling music cd’s and wearing a red shirt threatened him with a gun.
Officers made contact with ALTON STERLING, 37, 6061 Plank Rd, in the parking lot of the business. An altercation between Sterling and the officers ensued. Sterling was shot during the altercation and died at the scene.
Two BRPD officers have been placed on administrative leave per standard procedure.
This is an ongoing investigation.
More as this story develops.