Graphic videos were released this week showing footage from two police body cameras, a dashboard camera and a store surveillance camera from the shooting of Alton Sterling outside of the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge Parish on July 5, 2016.
The body cam footage comes from police officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, the two white law enforcement officers who confronted Sterling, a 37-year-old father of five who was killed outside that store. The officers, were reportedly responding to a call about a man brandishing a gun.
CBS News correspondent, David Begnaud took to Twitter Friday to share the footage along with the 911 call:
BREAKING: This is the body camera video from Baton Rouge police Officer Blane Salamoni, who shot & killed Alton Sterling. It was just aired by @WAFB - Officer Salamoni was fires today, he refused to answer all questions at his disciplinary hearing, on the advice of his attorney pic.twitter.com/ZiLR8e8ZmR— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) March 30, 2018
The newly released footage appears to show Salamoni and Lake trying to confront and subdue Sterling in front of the store. There is a brief scuffle and then Salamoni can be heard yelling profanities at Sterling including:
I’m going to shoot you in your f@$%ing head.
According to the Huffington Post, the officer then hits him with a stun gun and then:
The officers are then seen pinning Sterling to the ground, and shortly afterward, three shots are fired. Sterling, still alive and with a visible wound to his chest, moves his left arm toward his head and face. Moments later, an officer can be heard telling Sterling to 'Get on the ground.' Three more shots are fired. As one of the officers sits on the ground, the other can be seen pulling an object from Sterling’s right pocket.
Disciplinary actions against the officers and release of the footage comes almost two full years after Sterling was killed.
The official footage, when paired with the cellphone video taken by onlookers at the time, paints a disturbing picture of Sterling’s death at the hands of police—one that originally went viral on social media immediately following the incident, setting off protests in Baton Rouge and around the country.
Post shooting, Salamoni had argued that Sterling had been reaching for a gun during the altercation but that could not be confirmed from the cellphone video. Authorities did say, however that the officers found a loaded revolver in Sterling’s pocket at the time.
Begnaud also offered a link to anyone who wanted to see or thought they could stomach watching the unedited versions of the video:
Note: the video I just posted was edited due to its graphic nature: it aired on @wafb, the cbs affiliate in Baton Rouge. The unedited links are posted at https://t.co/h7G99VJMre and will be posted on https://t.co/RiiO8okKe2 - there will be a report tonight on @CBSEveningNews— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) March 30, 2018
And offered the 911 call that precipitated the violent altercation with police:
Sterling family attorneys had demanded the release of any police videos last year, when the Justice Department decided not to pursue federal civil rights charges against the officers.
This last week, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said his office, would also not be pursuing charges against the officers, stating:
Both officers acted in a reasonable and justified manner in the shooting death of Mr. Sterling,” the prosecutor argued on Monday, adding that Sterling was shot because he resisted arrest.
Twitter users who saw the footage were understandably shaken, angry, and confused by the lack of charges against the officers:
Poor training and socially inept. That is 200% on point. How do you not try to deescalate the situation? Do they not teach them how to calm the situation down.— Candid Corner (@CandidCorner) March 31, 2018
Funny how these videos appear after the killer cops walk...— Karim Walker (@shift_in2_turbo) March 30, 2018
Exactly. There are no words to express my feelings over this situation. His life mattered!— Candice 🍷😻🌿🌎 (@candice7799) March 31, 2018
The violent and dehumanizing content displayed on these videos had people upset once again over the blatant mistreatment of an African American at the hands of police, with many saying there is absolutely no justification for his death, regardless of his compliance with officers' orders:
It’s one thing to say “he shouldnt of resisted” its another to have a cop already filled w/ hate & anger abusing power right as he showed up. Level headed police officers could of handled that no prob w/o killing him.— Matt Van Swarthout 🇳🇱 (@dutchking7) March 31, 2018
There is no justification for him being killed! Citizens have the right to ask questions! LEOs are trained to deescalate situations and that did not happen here. He should be alive and in jail IF he did break the law.— Blocked from Wakanda due to poor credit (@shizbgby) March 31, 2018
The officer started off with a gun to the guy's head, threatening to shoot him. That immediately escalated the situation. Shoving a gun in a suspect's head should not be the first method chosen.— Melissa Yamauchi (@txmedic37) March 31, 2018
With the help of a video excerpt, one Twitterer posed a question that seems to be at the very heart of the matter:
w/ out deflection, or playing the victim when the facts are displayed, or the usual narrative: returning this question with a question...answer this one question with a “yes” or “no” if you can’t, we can NOT have a dialogue.— #IntellectualViolence (@Soul_Burn_Slow) March 31, 2018
or you have: #CognitiveDissonance pic.twitter.com/lqr5ESYRYi