Protesters Demand Arrest of Police Who Killed Alton Sterling

Story tools

A A AResize


BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Whether it has been a gathering of 300 in front of the Triple S convenience store, small groups of 50 meeting at area churches, nearly 400 at city hall, dozens painting signs at Louisiana State University, or a thousand marching through downtown, Baton Rouge residents and visitors are protesting the death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, who was shot by city police officers on July 5.

The shooting immediately drew public attention and protesters began taking their cries for justice to the streets, starting on North Foster. Demonstrations for Alton Sterling followed in major cities across the nation.

Protests have been largely peaceful, however local, city, and state officers’ use of force when arresting protesters have resulted in injuries. Reports have serviced of police attacking, beating, and illegally arresting protesters.

This treatment has been publicized in national media. Following closed meetings between Black elected officials and the U.S. Department of Justice, East Baton Rouge metro councilman Lamont Cole said the group has “some serious concerns” about how protesters have been handled by police.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana agrees. On July 13, the group filed a lawsuit against the Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD), the Louisiana Department of Public Safety, EBRP Sheriff’s Department, and state police for using excessive force and “violating the First Amendment rights of demonstrators who were protesting peacefully against the killing of Alton Sterling.” The ACLU has requested a restraining order that would put restrictions on how protesters can be scattered and detained during future demonstrations. Under the order, officers would not be able to use chemical agents—such as tear gas— without clear warning and authorization from the governor. Officers that worked protests would also be required to clearly display their names, agency and identifying number.

“These protests are and will continue to be one of the strategies our citizens use to bring attention to the issue of police brutality and demand justice in the death of Alton Sterling,” said Michael McClanahan, president of the NAACP Baton Rouge Chapter.

Read more