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Anger grows over US police killing of Alton Sterling

Killing of the 37-year-old was allegedly filmed on a mobile phone, sparking local protests in his hometown in Louisiana.

US police killing

Members of the community where a 37-year-old man was shot and killed by a Baton Rouge police officer on Wednesday have called for a federal investigation into the death.

A policeman shot and killed Alton Sterling, a black man, as he was held to the ground, and mobile phone footage alleged to be of the incident has caused outrage online and prompted hundreds to protest. Protests lasted late into the night on Tuesday in Louisiana's second largest city, Baton Rouge, with demonstrators chanting "black lives matter" and "hands up don't shoot". 

At a news conference on Wednesday, speakers said they did not trust the police and demanded answers as to why Sterling as shot and killed outside a convenience store where he was selling CDs. 

The head of the NAACP in Baton Rouge called on Wednesday during the press conference for the police chief to be fired. 

"What I'm calling for today is that the chief law enforcement officer to fire the police chief," Michael McClanahan said. "He must step down. We cannot have anybody who allows this type of action to take place."

Police say they were called to the store on Tuesday night after an anonymous called said Sterling had threatened someone with a gun. 

The video clip filmed by a mobile phone, which cannot be verified by MWC News, contains images some readers may find distressing.

The 48-second video shows at least two police officers pushing Sterling down to the floor. One officer is seen pressing his head against the ground. There are shouts of "Get on the f*****g ground!" and "If you move, I swear to f*****g God!". Then, at least five shots can be heard.

Corporal L'Jean McKneely told local media officers had responded to an anonymous call that said there was a man in the area with a gun.

McKneely said two officers at the scene had an altercation with a man and one officer fatally shot the suspect.

He said police believed only one officer fired shots, and that the officer has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard department policy.

By dawn on Wednesday, protesters and friends had erected a makeshift memorial for Sterling on the white folding tables and fold-out chair he had used to sell homemade music compilations.

An autopsy showed that Sterling died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back, according to East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. William Clark.

The convenience store's owner, Abdul Muflahi, told a local TV station that the first office to arrive to the scene had used a stun gun on Sterling and the second officer tackled the man. As Sterling fought to get the officer off of him, the first officer shot him "four to six times".

The store owner said Sterling did not have a gun in his hand at the time, but he saw officers remove a gun from Sterling's pocket after the shooting.


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