On the one-month anniversary of the day Baton Rouge police fatally shot Alton Sterling outside a north Baton Rouge convenience store, about 100 people gathered in the Triple S parking lot to celebrate Sterling's life and urge people to continue pushing for justice in the case.
Sterling, a felon in possession of a firearm, was fatally shot by a Baton Rouge police officer during a struggle outside the store early July 5. Videos of the incident have circulated widely online. The shooting, which is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice, sparked protests at Triple S, Baton Rouge police headquarters and across the country.
Some of those attending Friday's memorial wore shirts that read "Black Lives Matter" and others carried flags saying "Justice for Alton."
In the past month, the convenience store has become something of a community gathering place, with people regularly coming to remember Sterling, who often sold CDs in the parking lot. People driving past the event Friday night waved from their vehicles and honked their horns in support.
Sandra Sterling, the aunt of Alton Sterling, said people must stand up and fight for justice for her nephew. She noted that protests were halted out of respect after the July 17 shooting that killed three law enforcement officers and injured three others, but "now it's time to get back out here."
Gavin Long, a Missouri man, shot dead Baton Rouge officers Montrell Jackson and Matthew Gerald and Sheriff's deputy Brad Garafola and seriously injured deputy Nick Tullier, who remains hospitalized, before being fatally shot by law enforcement.
After two days spent listening to a cross-section of Baton Rouge — from first responders to …
"It's been one month, one month since Alton was laid right here," Sandra Sterling said, becoming emotional as she pointed at the place where her nephew was shot and died. "Right here. Killed. Killed. Murdered. Murdered. Dead, never coming back again."
Political and community leaders speaking at the event encouraged attendees to continue protesting, but urged them to remain peaceful and not lose sight of their goal.
"Justice looks like they should be doing an indictment in somebody for his death. And if we don't get that, we can't stop at that," state Rep. C. Denise Marcelle said.
A federal judge has ordered officials not to publicly release an autopsy report on the death…
Marcelle said the police must be held accountable not only in the Sterling case, but in all of their dealings with residents of Baton Rouge. She said one step forward would be stepping up community policing efforts so officers will have a better relationship with those they serve.
Mike McClanahan, who leads the Baton Rouge NAACP chapter, encouraged people at the memorial to support black-owned businesses and advocate for solutions by attending Metro Council meetings. It's also important for them to get involved in their neighborhoods and help those in need to improve the community, McClanahan said. "That's protest too," he said.
Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel and more than 50 supporters laid out a game plan Thur…
Community activist Arthur "Silky Slim" Reed said there's much work to be done in black neighborhoods of Baton Rouge. Officials who aren't working to better the situation must be held accountable, he said.
"If we don't fight, they will continue to kill you," he warned attendees at the memorial.