March 30, 2017

US protests after police shooting of black man in Louisiana


Protests have taken place in the US state of Louisiana after a video emerged appearing to show two white police officers holding down and shooting dead a black man.

The incident took place in the state capital, Baton Rouge, on Tuesday after reports of a man threatening people with a gun outside a shop.

A post mortem examination showed the victim, Alton Sterling, died of wounds to the chest and back, officials said.

Demonstrators blocked nearby roads.

The crowd of about 200 people was moved on by police but organisers say they will reassemble later in front of City Hall.

The incident comes amid heightened tension in the US over the deaths of African-American men at the hands of police.

There are more than 1,000 deadly shootings by police in the US each year, and those killed are disproportionately black Americans.

Police spokesman Cpl L’Jean McKneely said the officers had been called in after reports that a man selling CDs outside a convenience store had threatened someone with a gun. He said that the two officers involved had since been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Reporter Brittany Weiss from local TV station WBRZ told the BBC’s Newsday programme that the video footage showed the officers having an altercation with a man in a car park.

“The police officers bring this man down to the ground and then you hear more of an altercation,” she said.

“Then you hear three gunshots and two other shots that are muffled and then you hear someone say ‘he has a gun’ during that exchange.”

Abdul Muflahi, who owns a shop where the incident took place, told WAFB TV station that one officer had used a Taser on the man but a struggle then ensued with the second officer. He said that the first officer then shot the man “four to six times”.

Mr Muflahi said the man did not appear to have a gun in his hand during the altercation although he saw officers remove a gun from the man’s pocket following the shooting.

The incident comes amid heightened tension in the US over the deaths of African-American men at the hands of police.

There are more than 1,000 deadly shootings by police in the US each year, and those killed are disproportionately black Americans.

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