In the end, Alton Sterling lay nearly spread-eagle on the pavement outside the Triple S Food Mart early Tuesday, a wide bloodstain on the front of his red shirt as a police officer called on his radio, “Shots fired. Shots fired,” then shouted an expletive.
Moments before, Sterling, pinned to the ground, had been struggling with two Baton Rouge police officers on top of him.
Then at least six shots rang out.
The scene was captured in the second cell-phone video to emerge of the shooting of Sterling, a 37-year-old man who sold compact discs in front of the Triple S store. The video, released Wednesday, a day after the first one was widely disseminated, adds snippets of context to the moments before and immediately after Sterling was shot.
[SEE THE FIRST VIDEO HERE (Caution: Graphic content)]
Joel Porter, the lawyer for Triple S owner Abdullah Muflahi, said his client shot the second video. Muflahi didn’t turn it over to the Baton Rouge Police Department because he doesn’t trust the agency, Porter said, adding that the video has been given to the FBI.
[SEE THE SECOND VIDEO HERE (Caution: Graphic content)]
“We feel the truth needs to come out. The community needs to be aware of what actually happened. Mr. Muflahi feels that justice should be done in this case,” Porter said.
State and federal officials announced Wednesday that the FBI and federal prosecutors were taking the lead in the Sterling investigation.
Porter also claimed more videos and witness accounts of the shooting have not yet been made public. He warned they will serve as a check on what local authorities tell the community about the shooting.
“There is additional footage, and additional witnesses that they know not of. We’ll let Baton Rouge city police create a narrative, and then we will knock it down inch by inch,” Porter said.
Officers showed up about 12:35 a.m. Tuesday at the Triple S Food Mart on North Foster Drive after an anonymous caller reported a man in a red shirt selling CDs outside the store had ordered someone off the property at gunpoint, police have said.
Muflahi has told The Advocate that Sterling was armed but was not holding his gun or touching his pockets during the incident. Muflahi said police pulled a gun from Sterling’s pocket after the shooting. Initial results of an autopsy performed Tuesday show Sterling died from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back.
Neither the first nor second video provides a clear shot of Sterling’s hands, but an officer can be seen struggling with the man’s right arm before the shooting. After the shooting, an officer can be seen taking something from Sterling’s right pants pocket.
The first video, publicized Tuesday, shows two officers confronting Sterling then wrestling him to the ground. The camera lens turns away after the first shots.
The second video, shot from a different angle than the first, starts after Sterling is brought to the ground in front of a parked sedan and shows more of what happened after he was shot. At first, a prone Sterling can be seen picking his head up as officers kneel over and appear to struggle with him.
Shots are heard as the camera’s lens turns away, then returns to show an officer on his side with a pistol pointed at Sterling’s prone body.
“What you did that for, man,” someone is heard shouting.
Sterling raises his left arm as the officer gets up. It’s not clear from the video which officer fired the shots.
Neither video shows the events leading up to the officers’ takedown of Sterling. Baton Rouge police have provided few details. Muflahi has described the officers as aggressive.
Arthur “Silky Slim” Reed said the first video was shot by Stop the Killing Inc., a group he founded. He would not identify specifically who shot the first video, but said his group routinely tracks shootings in Baton Rouge for documentary work.
He said his crew was able to be at the scene of the shooting because they routinely track violence by listening to police scanner traffic and tapping his sources in the city.
He said his group is trying to raise awareness of violence in the black community among young people, whether it is by the police or is black-on-black crime.
“Black lives will never matter if they don’t matter to black people first. We put it in their face and show them what they’re doing to each other, and if police are doing something, we want to hold them accountable too,” Reed said.