Less than a week ago, Alton Sterling was killed by police in front of the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The video sent shockwaves through America, and followup footage showed that Sterling wasn’t holding a gun as he was pinned down by two officers. A few days later, Philando Castile was shot by an officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, during a routine traffic stop. Then five officers died when Micah Xavier Johnson reportedly rained bullets upon an anti-brutality protest in Dallas. Protests have continued across the nation. Some have been peaceful while others were filled with conflict.
Baton Rouge saw protests throughout the weekend. Sunday night accelerated quickly, but first, a little backtracking. On Saturday evening, around 100 people were arrested, including Breitbart journalist Lee Stranahan, who was taken into custody after filming this encounter.
Stranahan is now out of jail but believes his arrest was unconstitutional.
On Sunday, at least 40 more people were arrested in Baton Rouge. The Daily Beast notes how the press was corralled several blocks from the protest area. The police reportedly threatened arrest (“We’re giving you an official direction”) upon all non-credentialed journalists and forbade them from stepping into the street. Officers moved into the area and advanced upon a group of protesters standing on private property with the homeowner’s permission.
CBS News’ David Begnaud spoke with the homeowner, who was “stunned at the behavior of police officers.”
Around 100 officers threatened to arrest gatherers for unlawful assembly. They used sound cannons to push back crowds who held signs while chanting, “no justice, no peace.”
Some close-up photos and videos show Baton Rouge police and SWAT officers dressed in riot gear.
Solange Knowles tweeted her experience during the protests. She noted that tear gas was being used near small children. She also says the gathering was peaceful, but police were heavily armed with “huge assault rifles.”
Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson was also on the scene following his Saturday arrest. After leaving jail on Sunday afternoon, McKesson noted a peaceful gathering at the Triple S where Sterling died.