Tuesday morning saw the tragic and senseless death of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police outside a convenience store. The video footage stood as yet another example of police brutality that America knows all too well. The statistics are simply sobering, as Sterling became the 558th person killed by U.S. law enforcement this year. The circumstances surrounding Sterling’s death will become the subject of a Department of Justice investigation, and multiple witnesses reported that Sterling never withdrew a weapon. They say he was simply standing in front of the store and selling CDs as he did on a regular basis.
The incident has created a massive media storm, especially after Sterling’s wife called for justice in an emotional speech. Fifteen-year-old Cameron Sterling wept beside his mother, and the nation is outraged with protests ongoing. The Rev. Jesse Jackson has called the incident a “legal lynching. A whole host of rappers added their thoughts too, but many heads turned in the direction of Jesse Williams. Folks wondered when Williams — who recently delivered a BET Awards speech to highlight police brutality for a mainstream audience — would speak out on Sterling’s death.
Williams waited for a few hours and then delivered a fiery reaction. He began by tweeting, “In the interest of time, would ye noble patriots please provide a list of infractions punishable by spontaneous public execution? Thanks!” Then he feigned eagerness to study the list before getting even more real.
Williams BET speech is on repeat all over Twitter right now, for one simply cannot watch it too many times. Since violence from law enforcement occurs every single day, the speech was bound to be timely. But with the death of Alton Sterling, Williams’ truth carries even more weight.