The son of latest police shooting victim Alton Sterling and his mother address reporters. Photo: MSNBC
Alton Sterling was selling CDs outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Monday night, when police received an anonymous call accusing someone who matched his description of threatening another person with a gun.
When police arrived, they shouted at Sterling to get on the ground. They then pinned him down, and while he lay there on his back, shot him multiple times in the chest at point-blank range.
After shooting him, police removed an object from his pocket that may or may not have been a gun, but the nearby shop owner who allowed Sterling to use the space said he was not holding the gun, nor did he reach for it, while police carried out their attack. And the footage appears to corroborate this.
In the wake of the past four years of #BlackLivesMatter, the movement that began after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012, it's almost inconceivable that police in the United States still treat the lives of black civilians as theirs for the taking.
But here we are, in 2016, after Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray and more whose high-profile killings at the hands of police sparked national outrage; now Alton Sterling joins the list, as the 558th person American police have killed so far this year. And we're only halfway through.
Appearing on national TV, the mother of Sterling's children, Quinyetta McMillan, has spoken out about the effect of his death on their family, with her 15-year-old son sobbing uncontrollably by her side.
"The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis," she said.
"My son is not the youngest, he is the oldest of his siblings. He is 15 years old. He had to watch this as it was put all over the outlets."
As McMillan spoke, her son cried out for his dad and had to be consoled by surrounding family members, one of whom was pointedly dressed in a t-shirt remembering Trayvon Martin.
There are no more words to be had. Please make this madness stop, America.