The son of Alton Sterling, the Louisiana man whose death at the hands of police last week sparked protests, has called for peace at ongoing demonstrations.
Speaking to reporters in front of the convenience store where his father was shot by a Baton Rouge police officer, Cameron Sterling urged supporters to “protest in peace, not guns.”
“You can protest, but I want everyone to protest the right way,” Cameron, 15, said. “Protest with peace, not guns, not drugs, not alcohol, not violence.”
“I feel that people in general, no matter what the race is, should come together as one united family,” Cameron added. “There should be no more arguments, disagreements, violence, crimes. Everyone should come together as one united family.
“My father was a good man,” he said, adding that Alton’s death is a sign that “everyone should be together—not against each other.”
Officers approached Sterling in the parking lot of the Triple S Food Mart convenience store where he was selling CDs. Baton Rouge police said the incident started when officers responded to a disturbance call from someone who said a black man selling CDs wearing a red shirt threatened him with a firearm.
After that, police said “an altercation between Sterling and the officers ensued,” leading to Sterling’s shooting death.
Bystanders recorded videos of the shooting, showing Sterling pinned down when he was shot. The two officers, who were later identified as Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, are now on administrative leave.
The investigation into the shooting of Sterling is now being led by the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division.
A search warrant filed by the Rouge Police Department on Monday said police saw the butt of a handgun in Sterling’s front pocket and then saw him reach for it. Police then opened fire, according to The Advocate newspaper.
Sterling, 37, refused orders from the two police officers to set his hands on the hood of a car when they approached him, the warrant stated. They then used stun guns and were trying to “subdue the subject” when they “observed the butt of a gun in (Sterling)’s front pants pocket,” said the warrant.
He then “attempted to reach for the gun from his pocket, the officers fired their police-issued duty weapon at the subject to stop the threat,” it said.
Sterling’s death, and a separate fatal shooting of a black man by police near Minneapolis, triggered protests across the United States. In Dallas last week, an Army veteran shot and killed five police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest.