All across the country, people are angry and saddened about the death of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man and father who was fatally shot several times while being held on the ground by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana early Tuesday morning. Footage of the shooting captured by a witness’ cellphone surfaced late Tuesday, spurring national outrage. During Hot 97’s call in show on Wednesday, DJ Peter Rosenberg of the Ebro in the Morning Show went off on a furious and pointed rant about one of the major problems with the way police respond (or don’t) to police killings.
When a cop called in to the show to discuss the shooting, Rosenberg asked whether or not the footage depicting Sterling held on the ground by police and then fatally shot “looked bad.” The cop hesitated to answer, and Rosenberg went off. “This is the problem I have with cops,” he began:
Y’all don’t ever want to point at someone else and say “You can’t do your job well.” I could tell you right now, if I heard a radio personality get on the air and do something irresponsible, I’d go “That’s a bad radio personality. He does a bad job.” Police officers never wanna say when y’all do a bad job. So and that’s the reason the public thinks all of you are bad, because you won’t ever call someone out and say “They murdered someone in cold blood. It happened again.” And until you guys start taking responsibility for your own, people in the street are gonna be upset instead. So how about y’all lead the movement instead? How about instead of people rioting, police officers get out in front of it themselves, and you guys are the first ones on the front lines? That’s what should happen instead of you struggling to say, “Well I don’t know, it could be…” “They murdered that man. We just saw it.”
The cop responded, “I can’t agree with you…” sending Rosenberg off again, reiterating the fact that cops seem not to be able to acknowledge when another officer fails to serve and protect.
According to a press release published Tuesday by the Baton Rouge Police Department, officers were called to the convenience store were Sterling was outside selling CDs regarding a complaint that a black man in a red shirt had “threatened someone with a gun.” The press release states that after police arrived, “an altercation between Sterling and the officers ensued.” The statement added that the two officers have been placed on leave while authorities investigate the shooting.
In the footage of the shooting, officers can be heard yelling at Sterling to “Get on the ground!” The two officers are then shown on top of Sterling while he was on the ground. One of the officers is then seen pulling out his gun, and shooting Sterling. The witness then quickly turned his cellphone away from Sterling and the cops.
Crowds of protesters gathered on Tuesday evening in Baton Rouge to speak out against police brutality and demand justice for Sterling.