Alton Sterling Is the 38th Person Killed by Louisiana Cops Since 2015

The state has a relatively high rate of officer-involved shootings.


On Wednesday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel-Edwards announced that the US Department of Justice will investigate the killing of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man shot to death by Baton Rouge police. Sterling is the 11th person to be killed by police in Louisiana in 2016, according to a database maintained by the Guardian. There have now been 38 people killed by Louisiana cops since January 2015, the data shows. Of those 38 killed, 21 were black. Louisiana ranked 10th in police-involved killings per capita in 2015, behind the District of Columbia, Wyoming, and New Mexico, which topped the list last year.

Protesters gathered outside the convenience store where Sterling was killed shortly after midnight on Tuesday.

Outcry has erupted on social media since cell phone footage of the killing emerged online. The footage appears to show Sterling being Tased by an officer who orders him to the ground. Another officer grabs Sterling and forces him to the ground, and after one of the officers yells “gun,” several shots ring out, though the shooting itself isn’t clearly depicted in the footage.

Several media outlets have been tracking officer-involved shootings since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 thrust the issue into the national spotlight. Nationally, the tallies differ depending on the database: The Counted, from the Guardian, shows that there have been 558 people killed in altercations with police so far in 2016, mostly but not exclusively involving firearms. The Washington Post, which looks specifically at fatal shootings, found that 505 people have been shot to death by law enforcement this year nationwide, 122 of whom were black. Last year, 1,146 people were killed by police, with black people killed at twice the rate of white, Hispanic and Native Americans, according to the Guardian. (The outlet’s data since January 2015 accounts for three deaths by Taser.) The Washington Post determined that 990 people were fatally shot by police last year, 258 of whom were black.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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