Another police brutality case reported in the United States. Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black male, and father of two, was violently killed by two white male police officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, in front of the supermarket Triple S Food Mart during the early hours of Tuesday morning.
There is an undeniable common denominator in almost, if not all, of these incidents: the victims were black. It is these incredibly unlawful happenings that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the year 2016, 48 years after the ruthless assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and 51 years after that of Malcolm X, the assumption was that the new millennium would be more respectful of fundamental human rights for all in the Land of the Free. However, it would appear that this liberation spoken about in the National Anthem is not a right reserved for all Americans.
Notwithstanding the privacy and transparency violations the “war on terror” has produced, which is not the current matter at hand, the United States is home to a multitude of events that have put uncountable and uncounted individuals’ rights at jeopardy, sparking the debate of an ongoing, growing racism that is not being taken seriously.
According to an article published in BBC News US and Canada Edition May last year, activist and researcher, Sam Sinyangwe reported “black people are three times more likely to be killed by police in the United States than white people.” This means that individuals such as Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, and Freddie Gray, all died at the hands of the very same people who were supposed to protect them.
The latest victim of unruly police and racialized violence was an example of yet another perceived expendable black body.
Alton Sterling shot dead by police officials in Baton Rouge
Sterling was reported selling CD’s outside the store when the two police officers went to greet him in a verbal altercation that grew violent. The police officers allegedly tasered Sterling then forced him to the ground before noticing a gun on his person, according to the video recorded on an eyewitness’ mobile device that has gone viral.
It was at that moment that one of the police officers aimed his gun for the harassed Sterling’s head and shot him dead. The incident rightfully angered many and hours later. There were Black Lives Matter protests held outside of the store in solidarity with Sterling and his family, against the uncalled-for violence police officers relentlessly use against numerous black people.
US Congressman Cedric Richmond spoke about the unresolved and deeply unsettling questions surrounding the incident such as the initial calls for police presence, the degree of force used by the officers, the reason behind the verbal and physical altercation, as well as how the police officers reacted after the shooting.
This would not be the first time police officers are being investigated and put on administrative leave for an unnecessarily violent encounter with a black individual.
According to NPR, Mayor Kip Holden stated at a press conference that Baton Rouge is an inclusive community with “a wound right now, but we’ll be healing, and making this city and parish whole again.”
What the Mayor fails to realize here is that the problem lies not with the community of that particular area, but rather the US society in general and how it perceives and should seek to preserve the rights of all US citizens. Too frequently are black bodies wrongfully shot, killed and/or incarcerated by their race.
All lives should matter, and Black ones should be no exception.