Feds Step in in 'Disturbing' Baton Rouge Police Shooting

Federal authorities investigating death of Alton Sterling
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2016 11:59 AM CDT
Feds Step in in 'Disturbing' Baton Rouge Police Shooting
In this Tuesday, July 5, 2016 photo made from video, Alton Sterling is held by two Baton Rouge police officers, with one holding a hand gun, outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, La.   (Arthur Reed via AP)

Federal authorities are investigating Tuesday's fatal police shooting in Louisiana after disturbing video of the incident made headlines and sparked protests. Alton Sterling, 37, who sold CDs outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, was shot dead by police who were responding to a report of a man with a gun threatening someone outside the store. The video shows police shooting Sterling after they've already pinned him on the ground. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday that the US Justice Department's Civil Rights Division will lead an investigation into the shooting, which will also involve the FBI, state police, and the US attorney's office in Baton Rouge, CNN reports.

"The video is disturbing to say the least," said Edwards, who added that after watching it he has "very serious concerns." The local branch of the NAACP has called for the resignation of Baton Rouge's police chief and mayor, both of whom were speaking at a press conference Wednesday. The police department identified Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II as the officers involved in the incident, and said both have been placed on paid administrative leave, the Advocate reports. An attorney for Sterling's family says he had the store owner's permission to sell CDs, and the store owner says Sterling never caused any trouble and that "he was asking them what he did wrong" as officers slammed him against a car. Officers pulled a gun out of Sterling's pocket after he was shot, but the store owner says Sterling was not threatening anyone with it. (More police shooting stories.)

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