Alton Sterling: Funeral held in US state of Louisiana

Black father of five was shot dead by white police in Louisiana, sparking a wave of protests across the US.

Thousands of mourners gathered pay their respects to the family of Alton Sterling, a black man who was shot and killed by white police officers in the US state of Louisiana. 

Sterling, 37, died on July 5 outside a supermarket in the city of Baton Rouge when police wrestled him to the ground and shot him, saying he had a gun. The father of five, whose funeral was held on Friday, had been selling CDs. 

Footage of the moment Sterling was killed was captured on a mobile phone, which contains images some readers may find distressing, was circulated online – sparking outrage and then protests.

Sterling’s killing was followed the next day with another police shooting. An officer killed the 32-year-old black man, Philando Castile, at a traffic stop in the midwestern US state of Minnesota. The aftermath of the shooting was also captured on video and streamed live by Castile’s girlfriend on Facebook.

The deaths sparked outrage and protests in many cities across the US.

READ MORE: Aftermath of US police killing streamed on Facebook 

Last week, five white police officers were shot dead at one such protest in Dallas, Texas. 

Police identified Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, as the suspect and said he had set out to kill white people. Police shot and killed Johnson after the incident.

About 200 people were arrested in Baton Rouge during protests last week, with demonstrators accusing the police of heavy-handed tactics.

Among those that attended Sterling’s funeral were civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, the Nation of Islam’s Robert Muhammed, the Baton Rouge Metro Council’s Chauna Banks.

Two of US President Barack Obama’s senior advisers also attended. Obama earlier met with Cameron Sterling, the victim’s 15-year-old son.

Sterling was a father of five who sold CDs for a living [Jonathan Bachman/Reuters]
Sandra Sterling, the aunt who raised Alton Sterling, cries while attending the casket viewing [Jeffrey Dubinsky/Reuters]
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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