Early Tuesday morning, Louisiana police shot a black man point-blank in front of a Baton Rouge convenience store. Witnesses later revealed that the man — a father of five named Alton Sterling — had a weapon in his pocket but never moved to remove it. And video footage, coupled with witness statements, showed that police shot him four to six times after pinning him down. This sparked protests in Baton Rouge, and even though Jesse Williams’ BET speech is still fresh in the public consciousness, a revisit seems proper. But first, Sterling’s wife has her own must-watch speech.
Quinyetta McMillan addressed the media with what can only be described as superhuman strength. She was surrounded by supporters and the couple’s 15-year-old son, Cameron, who broke down in tears while calling out for his father. The entire speech is simply heartbreaking, and this portion calls for justice:
“This is the image of a man who simply tried to earn a living. With that said, the individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended on their daddy on a daily basis. As a mother, I have now been forced to raise a son who is going to remember what happened to his father. That I can’t take away from him. He is at an age of understanding, I hurt more for him and his loss. As a parent, one of the greatest fears is to see your child hurt and know there’s nothing you can do about it.
“What I saw last night from the citizens of Baton Rouge will forever warm my heart. We are a complete community of individuals who will carry this burden and also stand together that this event will not go unnoticed, especially for the future. I, for one, will not rest or not allow him to be swept in the dirt.”
ABC News notes that the two officers involved in Sterling’s death have been placed on administrative leave. Sterling’s family has requested that state police take over the investigation, but Democratic U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana has gone further. He wants the Department of Justice “to conduct a full and transparent investigation into this incident” with the full cooperation of state and local police. (Update: The Department of Justice has formally opened an investigation into Sterling’s death.) Meanwhile, Tuesday night’s protests have continued outside Baton Rouge City Hall.
Let’s close out this sad update with a few more affecting tweets.