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Controversy of the Day

Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are the newest black victims of police brutality


Alton Sterling

Just stop. (Fibonacci Blue/Flickr)

Alton Sterling, a black man selling CDs outside of a convenience store early Tuesday morning, was shot dead after police pinned him to the ground. He was 37 years old, a father of five, and lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Philando Castile, a black man driving a car with a broken tail light Wednesday night was fatally shot by a police officer after a typical traffic stop.

His girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter were in the car as four shots were fired into Castile's right arm. He was a 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor at a Montessori School in Minnesota who worked with children.

The horrific deaths of these two men were captured on video.

WARNING: These videos are extremely graphic and heartbreaking, so watch at your own risk.

A bystander witnessed the murder of Sterling, and recorded the majority of the situation on a smartphone. Conveniently, both body cameras on the officers fell off during the incident.

Castile's girlfriend, Lavish Reynolds, livestreamed the immediate aftermath of the traffic stop. The cop can still be seen pointing a gun at Castile, who is drifting out of consciousness and covered in blood.

“I’m on Larpenteur and Fry and the Roseville Police Department just shot my boyfriend. They shot him four times. He’s licensed to carry. We had a busted tail light. And we had some weed in the car that’s about it.”

During the live video footage, Reynolds is also handcuffed and put into the back of a police car with her daughter, with no explanation.

Though both men had guns with them (they lived in concealed carry states), they were not holding them and presented no threat to the officers who shot them. That is blatantly obvious in the videos. Leaving everyone wondering: Why were they killed?

What happens to the officers?

The officers who killed Sterling--Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II--have been placed on administrative leave, as well as the officer who shot Castile (though he has yet to be identified).

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating Castile's death, and the governor has asked for an independent investigation from the US Department of Justice. The Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation into the killing of Sterling after the video went viral.

As for now, protests, vigils, and rallies are being held across Louisiana and Minnesota for the two newest black victims of police brutality.

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Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are the newest black victims of police brutality

Christina Buff

Christina is a freelance writer from a tiny town in Southern Maryland who just can't seem to figure out whether others are being sarcastic or not. She has a degree in business communication, with a focus in writing, from Stevenson University, and has written things for Severna Park Voice, Maryland Film Festival, The Villager, and Hello Giggles. Follow her on twitter @tinaBUFF where she constantly overthinks her tweets, or read her medley of musings at touchinfinity.wordpress.com.

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