Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced on Wednesday morning that the FBI and the Justice Department would begin an official investigation into the deadly shooting of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who was killed by police officers on Tuesday 5 July.
The announcement comes after widespread outrage over the conditions surrounding Sterling's death. Cell phone footage of the encounter with police was shared widely on social media, in which the offending officers can be heard saying that he was carrying a gun. However, the owner of the convenience store, outside of which Sterling was killed while selling CDs, said on Wednesday that Sterling was not carrying a weapon and that the police confiscated his store's security cameras without obtaining a warrant. The officers are currently on administrative leave.
In an emotional press conference on Wednesday morning preceding the Governor's announcement, Sterling's family and attorney gave a press conference where they called for strong repercussions against the Louisiana officers. According to NPR, Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of Sterling's 15-year-old son, said that her son's father "is not what the mass media is making him out to be." Sterling leaves behind four other children.
“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 DOJ said in a statement provided to The Advocate. “The Justice Department will collect all available facts and evidence and conduct a fair, thorough and impartial investigation.”
According to the BBC, quoting a statistic from Mapping Police Violence, 97% of police violence cases in the U.S. "were not followed by any charges against police officers."