The US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana [official website] on Wednesday announced an investigation [press release] into the recent police killing of a black man, Alton Sterling, which was recorded on video. Sterling was shot and killed by police officers Tuesday outside a Baton Rouge convenience store where he was selling CDs. US Attorney Walt Green said:
The FBI’s New Orleans Division, the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana have opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Alton Sterling. The Justice Department will collect all available facts and evidence and conduct a fair, thorough, and impartial investigation. As this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time.
The killing, which was recorded on two separate videos, has sparked protests.
The killing comes amid a national conversation about police use of force, particularly against black citizens. In May Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law an amended hate crimes bill [JURIST report], referred to as the “Blue Lives Matter” law, including police, EMS personnel and firefighters in the category of those protected. The bill has drawn the contempt of some civil rights groups, including the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Earlier this year the US Department of Justice (DOJ) launched an investigation [JURIST report] of the San Francisco Police Department following the shooting of an unarmed African American. In December an Ohio grand jury decided not to indict [JURIST report] two officers involved in a 2014 shooting resulting in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Earlier that month the DOJ announced that it would be opening a full investigation [JURIST report] into the Chicago Police Department following the 2014 police shooting death of a black teenager.