Alton Sterling Death is a Result of the Militarization of the Police

The video doesn’t lie: Force was used by the police in excess

BATON ROUGE – The death of Alton Sterling has been captured on at least two graphic videos. A black man shot by two Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officers, he was pinned to the ground by the cops as he was hit in the chest by a bullet. It’s disturbing to watch such a graphic video. But what’s disturbing is the behavior of the cops. They appear to have him pinned down, but they shot him anyway.

The cops appear to have taken something out of his pocket, which some claim was a gun. But we don’t know that yet. And even if it was a gun, does that justify shooting him in the chest? Is there a reason they didn’t use a stun gun? It’s true that doesn’t always stop a criminal. But in this case, where the guy was on the ground already, it certainly could have saved a life.

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This isn’t about racism. It’s about police feeling the need to shoot people too often. There are so many things you can do before a gun is pulled. It may be that the police are so thoroughly saturated with the NRA mantra of the “good guy with a gun” that they feel that needs to be their first stop in containing a criminal. Hit the guy if need be. Stun him. Even shoot him in the leg. But deadly force is too often the instant response.
On background one of the most important parts of this story came about when a video, obtained by CNN, showed another angle and was recorded closer to the shooting by one of two white Baton Rouge police officers who were answering a 911 report of a man with a gun. It is the second of two bystander videos that show the encounter. One posted online Tuesday night quickly sparked local protests and drew national attention.In the new 38-second recording,

Sterling is already on the ground, on his back. One officer is kneeling to Sterling’s left. The other officer appears to be straddling Sterling’s legs. Sterling can be seen from the chest up and his lower legs are also visible. His left arms and hands are not visible; his right arm is by his side.After gunshots are heard, the camera pans to the right then back to Sterling, who has a large blood stain on his chest. The officer who was on his legs now lies on the pavement above Sterling’s head, his gun pointed.

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