It has been one year since Alton Sterling was killed by White police Officer Blane Salamoni in a July 5, 2016 shooting that amplified calls for justice from the African-American community.
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Many people across the nation feel the pain of their unanswered calls, taking to the streets to protest against police brutality. Activists marched in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Wednesday in remembrance of Sterling, reports The Times-Picayune.
A group of roughly 30 people, including some members of the New Black Panther Party, were met by between 20 and 30 police officers who reportedly tasered and pepper sprayed them during the demonstration outside the Baton Rouge police headquarters. Seven people were arrested, including four men and three women, on misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and “entry remaining after forbidden,” according to the newspaper. The crowd was being filmed by a camera crew during the march, said department spokesman L’Jean Mckneely Jr.
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Mckneely said protesters were arrested for crossing a barricade after police said to remain behind the barrier. One officer fired a stun gun, and other officers also used “pepper balls” on the demonstrators. A cop was struck by a stun gun and sustained a minor injury, but police said they are unsure whether the gun was fired by police or protesters.
Activists were upset that the police arrested women, and were scared when officers fired pepper balls–fearing that it was live ammunition, said activist Ron Ceasar, according to the newspaper.
Earlier in the day, the activists also held a demonstration in front of the Triple S Food Mart, where Salamoni shot Sterling three times in the chest and three times in the back. Veda Washington, Sterling’s aunt, joined the march at Triple S and outside the police headquarters, but was not arrested, writes the Times-Picayune.
The demonstrations followed Sterling’s children filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the Baton Rouge Police Department, Salamoni and Officer Howie Lake, who was also involved in the confrontation with Sterling. A state investigation of the two officers is ongoing, while they remain on paid leave, reports NBC News.