Pinned Down, Gunned Down: Protests Erupt After Police Fatally Shoot Black Man in Baton Rouge


Video Shows White Officers Restraining, Then Opening Fire On 37-Year-Old Alton Sterling

Protests erupted in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday night after police fatally shot a 37-year-old black man while he was pinned to the ground by officers. 

The shooting of Alton Sterling, who had been selling CDs outside the Triple S Food Mart, was captured on cell phone video by an eyewitness early Tuesday morning. 


The 48-second video (above) begins with two loud pops, apparently from a stun gun, as the two officers yell at Sterling to, "Get on the ground." When Sterling doesn't go down, one of the officers slams him onto the hood of a car before tackling him to the pavement.   

With the officers kneeling on top of the 300-plus-pound Sterling, someone yells, "He's got a gun!" Both officers draw their weapons and point them at Sterling, before two shots ring out. The person filming the incident then drops the cell phone before three more shots can be heard. 

Baton Rouge police were dispatched to the Triple S at about 12:35 a.m. Tuesday in response to a report that Sterling had threatened someone with a gun. Officers reportedly retrieved a gun from Sterling's pocket after the incident. However, the owner of the Triple S, Abdullah Muflahi, said Sterling's hands were nowhere near his pocket during the deadly altercation.

"They were really aggressive with him from the start," Muflahi told The Advocate of Baton Rouge, referring to the officers.

Muflahi, who allowed Sterling to sell CDs outside the store, said the officers were "freaking out" after the incident and that he heard one of them say to "just leave him." 

The local coroner said an initial autopsy showed Sterling died from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back, and a Baton Rouge police spokesman said the officers had been placed on administrative leave. Mayor-President Kip Holden told WBRZ-TV a full investigation will be conducted.

"This is not going to be a cover up," Holden said.

In addition to the eyewitness' cell phone, the incident reportedly was captured on police dash cam video and store surveillance cameras. However, the officers' body cameras came loose during the struggle and did not record the shooting. 

Hundreds of protesters, including members of Sterling's family, took to the streets outside the Triple S on Tuesday night for what's being described as a peaceful protest, chanting "Black Lives Matter" and "Hands up, don't shoot." 

Edmond Jordan, an attorney representing Sterling's family, said there will be a news conference outside Baton Rouge City Hall at 8 a.m. local time Wednesday. 

UPDATE: One of Sterling's four sons broke down in tears at Wednesday morning's press conference, where his family spoke about the shooting. Watch clips below. 

Video: Son of #AltonSterling breaks down in tears as family speaks out about Baton Rouge shooting


This is a developing story, and this post will be updated as new information becomes available. 

Don't let Silicon Valley control what you read. Get more stories like this in your inbox each day.

* indicates required

See a mistake? Email corrections to: [email protected]