On July 5, 2016, Baton Rouge police officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake shot and killed Alton Sterling. On the first anniversary of the Black man’s death, protestors clashed with members of their department.
According to a statement emailed to Colorlines, activists gathered to deliver formal complaints about the time it has taken officials to conclude their investigation into Sterling’s death. They say officers barricaded the entrance to the police headquarters to block them from getting inside.
The video below, posted by location station WWLTV anchor Kristin Pierce, shows officers deploying stun guns and shooting what Nola.com calls “pepper balls” at the crowd.
Crazy scene at Baton Rouge Police headquaters. About 4 people handcuffed after police taser crowd pic.twitter.com/5HxICXobWn
— Kristin Pierce WWLTV (@KPierceTV) July 5, 2017
Nola.com reports that seven people were arrested, and that an officer was hit with a stun gun. The police department released a photo it says shows a protestor holding a Taser, but police spokesperson L’Jean Mckneely Jr. said that the officer could have been hit by a fellow officer. He said that the officers fired because the protestors were pushing through the barricade and, “they had been told multiple times to leave that area.” The protestors report that one of the activists suffered a broken wrist.
The Department of Justice decided not to indict the officers involved in killing Sterling, who was selling CDs outside a convenience store with the owner’s permission when he was approached by the White officers. Louisiana attorney general Jeff Landry has not yet released a decision about indicting the officers.