The Latest: Aunt calls for peaceful protest at vigil


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on the police shooting of a Baton Rouge man (all times local):

9 p.m.

An aunt of the Louisiana man killed by police has pleaded with protesters to remain peaceful as hundreds gathered for a vigil.

Many carried signs Wednesday night to express their anger and demand for justice, blocking streets near the Baton Rouge convenience store where Alton Sterling was killed.

Sandra Augustus, an aunt who helped raise Sterling after his mother died, spoke to the crowds with a broken voice, tearful.

She said a second video that emerged Wednesday showing the moments before her nephew was shot had left her angry.

Still, she pleaded for protesters and those gathered not to allow the vigil to be marred by violence.

Shortly after speaking, Augustus and another aunt of Sterling’s fainted in the heat and commotion. They were carried away by family members.

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9 p.m. (EDT)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is calling the shooting death of a Louisiana man a tragedy and decrying the deaths of black Americans in incidents involving police.

Authorities in Baton Rouge say 37-year-old Alton Sterling was killed early Tuesday during a scuffle with two police officers outside a convenience store. Sterling was black and the police officers were white. The U.S. Justice Department has launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting, which was recorded in video.

In a statement Wednesday, Clinton says something is profoundly wrong when so many Americans have reason to believe that their country doesn’t consider them as precious as others because of the color of their skin. Clinton says incidents such as the Sterling shooting have undermined the trust between police departments and the communities they serve.

In saying that trust needs to be rebuilt and justice served, Clinton cites what she calls “commonsense reforms” like ending racial profiling and providing better training on de-escalation and implicit bias.

Clinton says that all over America, there are police officers demonstrating how to protect the public without resorting to unnecessary force — and that everyone needs to learn from and build on those examples.

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7:30 p.m.

Hundreds of protesters, mourners, friends and family of a Louisiana man shot and killed by Baton Rouge police have gathered in front of the convenience store where the shooting occurred.

A vigil for Alton Sterling, who was killed early Tuesday, met outside the store Wednesday. There were prayers, songs, a balloon release in Sterling’s memory and calls for justice. Many of those gathered held signs demanding action as participants chanted “Black Lives Matter.”

Some of the protesters’ signs read “No Justice, No Peace,” ”Black Out Downtown!” and “Who is supposed to protect us?”

At one point during the vigil, protesters marched down a busy street near the site of the shooting, blocking traffic. Little to no police presence was seen near the peaceful gathering but police were nearby if needed.

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8:30 p.m. (EDT)

A protest in Philadelphia over the shooting death of a black man during a scuffle with two white police officers in Louisiana has blocked a highway on-ramp. Police have arrested about a dozen people.

Wednesday’s protest took place at an on-ramp for Interstate 676, a major thoroughfare through the downtown Philadelphia area.

About 75 people took part. Many chanted “This is what democracy looks like” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police.”

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6:15 p.m.

A second bystander’s video has emerged showing two white police officers involved in the shooting death of a black man outside of a convenience store.

The store owner, Abdullah Muflahi, says he shot the cellphone video and released it to the media Wednesday night. It shows the shooting of Alton Sterling from a slightly different angle than another video that was taken by a community activist and widely circulated on the internet.

Muflahi’s video shows the officers on top of Sterling and the shots being fired. The camera moves away at one point and when it returns, Sterling can be seen lying on the ground with what appears to be blood on his chest.

One officer is lying on the ground on his side with his weapon pointed toward Sterling, who appears to still be alive as his arm moves up to his chest. A voice can be heard saying “Shots fired! Shots fired!” The video then shows a second officer reaching into Sterling’s pocket and pulling out an object.

It’s not clear from the murky video what it is, but the store owner says it was Sterling’s gun.

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5:45 p.m.

The owner of a convenience store where a black Louisiana man was shot and killed by police said the man seemed “confused” and was trying to figure out why authorities were trying to arrest him before he was shot.

Abdullah Muflahi, the 28-year-old owner of the Triple S 24-hour convenience store where the shooting took place, said Wednesday that he went outside after the police arrived.

Alton Sterling was shot and killed early Tuesday by police in Baton Rouge.

Muflahi said he saw Sterling being thrown on top of a car hood. He said Sterling appeared confused and kept asking, “What did I do wrong?”

He said he never saw Sterling with a gun but saw a police officer pull a gun out of Sterling’s pocket after the shooting.

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5:20 p.m.

Court documents say one of the two white officers in the fatal shooting of a black man outside a convenience store was previously involved in a shooting with an armed man.

The documents say Officer Howie Lake was among the police officers who exchanged fire with a man who fled police on Dec. 13, 2014.

Lake told detectives he fired six or seven shots when Kevin Knight refused to drop his gun, threatened to kill himself and pointed his revolver at officers.

Knight, who is black, was wounded. His trial is scheduled for next month.

Knight’s attorney said he didn’t have access to the court documents and couldn’t immediately comment on Lake’s role in the shooting.

Lake was placed on administrative leave. It wasn’t clear from a summary of his statement to detectives whether he was disciplined.

Lake has been with the department for three years. He has been placed on administrative leave again as authorities investigate the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling early Tuesday.

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2:15 p.m.

A cousin of the black man killed by police during an altercation in Louisiana says police had harassed him before.

Sharida Sterling said Wednesday that her cousin, Alton Sterling, had been selling CDs in front of the convenience store for about six years.

She said when she couldn’t drive him there, he would take the bus with his box of music, table and folding chair.

She said the store management never had any problems with him working there but that he was often harassed by police. She said she suspected it was because he was black and a “big guy.”

She said her cousin had told her that he was going to be at the convenience store late Monday because it was a holiday and likely would be more customers.

Sterling was killed early Tuesday during an altercation with police. The Justice Department is investigating.

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1:30 p.m.

The head of the ACLU Louisiana says serious questions need to be asked whether body cameras were working properly when two white officers fatally shot a black man outside a convenience store.

Baton Rouge police said earlier Wednesday that the bodycam footage became dislodged during an altercation with 37-year-old Alton Sterling. The Justice Department is investigating the shooting.

Louisiana ACLU executive director Marjorie Esman wants to know if the officers were trained in how to properly fasten the cameras. She says right when they were needed the most is when two of them malfunctioned in the same way.

She also says authorities also should investigate whether police could have used some other means of subduing Sterling and “if it was necessary to subdue him at all.”

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11:50 a.m.

Baton Rouge police say they have dash-cam video, body-cam video and store surveillance video of the police shooting death of a black man outside a convenience store.

Police said Wednesday that the audio and video will be turned over to the U.S. Justice Department, which is investigating the shooting of Alton Sterling.

Police Lt. Jonny Dunnam says the body-cam footage may not be as good as investigators hoped for because the cameras became dislodged during the altercation.

In a cellphone video taken by a community activist and posted online, two officers had Sterling pinned to the ground, and gunfire erupted moments after someone yelled, “He’s got a gun! Gun!”

Dunnam noted that even though federal investigators are taking the lead, there will be an internal investigation and the officers will be entitled to hearings before any disciplinary actions are taken.

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11:25 a.m.

The Baton Rouge police chief has identified the two white officers involved in the fatal shooting of a black man.

Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. said Wednesday that the officers are Blane Salamoni, a four-year member of the department and Howie Lake II, who has been on the force for three years.

Both officers have been placed on administrative leave while the U.S. Justice Department investigates the shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling.

Baton Rouge Police Lt. Jonny Dunnam confirmed the races of the officers.

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11:10 a.m.

The Baton Rouge police chief says the black man who was fatally shot by police was armed but there are still questions about what happened.

Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. called the shooting a tragedy during a news conference and said: “Like you, there is a lot that we do not understand. And at this point, like you, I am demanding answers.”

The police chief made his comments just an hour after the U.S. Justice Department said it had opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling. The chief says the probe will be transparent and independent.

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10:50 a.m.

The man who says he shot video of police fatally shooting a black man in Baton Rouge says he has been distributing the footage on social media as a service to the community.

Arthur Reed told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that he and a team from his company, Stop the Killing Inc., made the video early Tuesday of 37-year-old Alton Sterling’s death. Reed says his company shoots documentary-style videos about killings in Baton Rouge.

Reed says that on the day of Sterling’s death, two teams of people drove to the scene, outside a convenience store, after hearing about the incident on police radio.

Reed described the scene: “They were already messing with him, and it escalated. After the shots, we left.”

The shooting and video have fueled anger and protests.

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10:35 a.m.

The Justice Department says it will open a civil rights investigation into the videotaped police shooting of a black man outside a Baton Rouge convenience store.

Agency spokesman David Jacobs said Wednesday that the FBI’s New Orleans Division and the U.S. attorney’s office will participate in the investigation of the fatal shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling.

Police say they went to the store Tuesday after an anonymous caller said Sterling had threatened someone with a gun.

The Justice Department’s investigation will look into whether the officers willfully violated Sterling’s civil rights through the use of unreasonable or excessive force.

Similar investigations, which often take many months to resolve, were opened following the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York.

Federal investigators must meet a high legal burden to bring a civil rights prosecution, establishing that an officer knowingly used unreasonable force under the circumstances and did not simply make a mistake or use poor judgment. Many federal probes conclude without criminal charges.

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10:25 a.m.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says the cellphone video of the fatal police shooting of a black man in Baton Rouge is “disturbing to say the least.”

Edwards said during a news conference on Wednesday that the U.S. Justice Department would investigate the shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling. He was killed early Tuesday outside a convenience store where he was selling CDs.

Police say they were called to the store Tuesday after an anonymous caller said Sterling had threatened someone with a gun.

The governor said he understood that protesters were angry over the shooting and called for calm.

Authorities have not released the race of the two officers, who have been placed on administrative leave.

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9:35 a.m.

In the wake of the fatal shooting of a black man by police at a Baton Rouge convenience store, a protester says people in the community need answers and justice.

Forty-five-year-old Sharon Alexander made the comments Wednesday, a day after 37-year-old Alton Sterling’s death.

A pastor told the small crowd gathered that the protest would be peaceful. That’s when Alexander chimed in, telling the pastor as her voice cracked: “We don’t need peace. We need answers; we need justice.”

Alexander was there with her daughter and three other relatives. She later said: “Our kids are not hearing our story. We sound like a broken record. It’s time for a change.”

A video that purported to show the killing of 37-year-old Alton Sterling further fueled public anger about the shooting early Tuesday, prompting hundreds to protest.

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8:45 a.m.

The head of the Baton Rouge NAACP in Louisiana has called for the police chief to be fired or resign in the wake of the fatal shooting of a black man during a confrontation at a convenience store.

Michael McClanahan said during a Wednesday morning news conference that Baton Rouge can’t have a leader who “allows this type of action to take place.”

A video that purported to show the killing of 37-year-old Alton Sterling further fueled public anger about the shooting early Tuesday, prompting hundreds to protest.

A vigil for Sterling is planned for Wednesday night.

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7:30 a.m.

Outside a Louisiana convenience store where a black Baton Rouge man was shot and killed by police, people have been paying their respects.

Authorities said 37-year-old Alton Sterling died Tuesday of multiple gunshot wounds after an altercation with police. His death and a subsequent video that purported to show the shooting sparked protests.

By dawn Wednesday, protesters and friends had created a makeshift memorial to Sterling on the white folding tables and fold out chair he had used to sell homemade music compilations on CD’s.

Arthur Baines came by to pay his respects. He said Sterling didn’t bother people and that he was just trying to make a living.

Mufleh Alatiyat, a 25-year old employee of the store, described Sterling as generous and said he often gave away CDs or petty cash or bought food or drink for people.

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2:30 a.m.

A Louisiana police officer shot and killed a man during a confrontation outside a Baton Rouge convenience store, authorities say, in a death that prompted a protest later in the day.

East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. William Clark says an autopsy shows 37-year-ol Alton Sterling died Tuesday of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back.

Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said officers responded to the store about 12:35 a.m. Tuesday after an anonymous caller indicated a man selling music CDs and wearing a red shirt threatened him with a gun.

McKneely says two officers responded and had some type of altercation with the man and one officer fatally shot the suspect. He says both officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard department policy.

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