The NAACP called for the firing of the Baton Rouge police chief, the latest escalation in the outrage over a viral video that shows a white Louisiana cop shooting a black man outside a convenience store.
Michael McClanahan, head of the NAACP in Baton Rouge, called for the the chief to be fired or resign Wednesday, The Associated Press reports.
Police responded to a call early Tuesday morning from someone saying a man selling CDs threatened him with a gun. Police arrived to find, Alton Sterling, 37, and an altercation broke out. One officer opened fire, and Sterling died after taking multiple gunshot wounds.
‘‘What I’m calling for today is that the chief law enforcement officer to fire the police chief,’’ McClanahan said. ‘‘He must step down. We cannot have anybody who allows this type of action to take place.’’
Abdul Muflahi, the store’s owner, told WAFB-TV that one of the cops tasered Sterling before the other tackled him. The owner said he didn’t see Sterling pull out a weapon on the cops, but that he did see cops take a gun out of Sterling’s pocket after the shooting.
A video reportedly depicting the shooting shows two officers in a confrontation with a black man. After an apparent struggle, the officers get the man to the ground. One officer pulls out his gun and points it at the man, who is on the ground. The cop yells at the man not to move and threatens to shoot him. Then what sound like gunshots can be heard.
Both officers were placed on leave, common practice for departments when officers are involved in fatal incidents. Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond called for a Department of Justice investigation into the death.
“There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding Mr. Sterling’s death. Including questions about the initial calls for police presence, the level of force used by officers, the verbal and physical altercation, and the response of the officers after he was shot,” Richmond said. “I call on the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a full and transparent investigation into this incident. The cause of justice requires state and local law enforcement to join in this request as soon as possible.”
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