The Latest: Woman: Police had harassed her cousin before


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

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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