Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has released a statement on the death of Alton Sterling, calling for the nation to rebuild their trust with the African-American community in light of yet another officer-related shooting.
Sterling was the 558th person to be killed by the police this year, according to The Guardian. The father of five was stopped by officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II in Baton Rouge, La. Tuesday evening as he sold CD’s outside a convenience store. The officers were reportedly responding to a 911 call of a man with a gun when they came into contact with the 37-year-old. Harrowing footage shows the officers holding down Sterling and shooting him six times in his back and chest.
After the Department of Justice announced a civil rights investigation into the shooting, Clinton expressed the need for proper police training and an end to racial profiling. “The death of Alton Sterling is a tragedy, and my prayers are with his family, including his five children,” she said.
"The death of Alton Sterling is a tragedy, and my prayers are with his family." —Hillary pic.twitter.com/Yky4ZxfbLN
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 7, 2016
“I am glad the Department of Justice has agreed to a full and thorough review of this shooting. Incidents like this one have undermined the trust between police departments and the communities they serve. We need to rebuild that trust. We need to ensure justice is served. That begins with common sense reforms like ending racial profiling, providing better training on de-escalation and implicit bias, and supporting municipalities that refer the investigation and prosecution of police-involved deaths to independent bodies. All over America, there are police officers demonstrating how to protect the public without resorting to unnecessary force. We need to learn from and build on those examples.”
Citing the hometowns of Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and Michael Brown, Clinton mentions how “profoundly wrong” the relationship is between police officers and civilians. “Something is profoundly wrong when so many Americans have reason to believe that our country doesn’t consider them as precious as others because of the color of their skin. Progress is possible if we stand together and never waver in our fight to secure the future that every American deserves.”
Just a few hours after Sterling’s death was confirmed, a new 38-second recording surfaced, showing one officer kneeling on Sterling’s chest and the other grabbing his legs. Sterling’s arms are raised before he was shot to death. Causing more concern was another officer-related shooting in Minnesota that resulted in the death of Philando Castile, who’s final moments were seen on Facebook Live on Wednesday (July 7.)