The Police Lied: #AltonSterling Never Pulled His Gun

Thank you to Keith over at Pharyngula for highlighting this.

(Warning: the following link contains another graphic video of Alton Sterling’s murder. So I’m putting the link below the fold. The video is not embedded in this post, however.)

I’m just going to quote Keith’s comment (though I’ll be making a couple edits… sorry, Keith… I’m obsessive about spelling, grammar, etc… it’s not you, it’s me):

The convenience store owner, Abdullah Muflahi, also filmed [Alton] Sterling’s murder. You can clearly see the police remove Sterling’s gun from deep in his right pocket after they shot him. He didn’t pull the gun on them.

Mr. Muflahi is now suing the police for unlawful detainment. He’s also claiming that they seized surveillance video from his store illegally, prior to getting a warrant.

He said he secreted the iPhone he filmed the incident with away because he was afraid the cops would take it and that the video would never be seen.

Also, a lot of people seem to be implying that the fact [Alton] had a gun on him at all was justification enough for shooting him. This is quite strange to me. Louisiana is an open carry state and also issues concealed carry permits. That means that people are more likely to be armed when the police engage with them – the legality of their possession of those weapons notwithstanding. Does that mean police can shoot any of those people with impunity simply by claiming “they went for the gun”? I mean if you have a weapon on you, legally or illegally, and a cop asks you to disarm yourself, don’t you have to “go for your gun” to do so? And if they shoot you then? It’s so utterly absurd.

Bear in mind: the police in who killed [Alton] Sterling had no idea who he was or, consequently, his legal status with respect to gun ownership, prior to engaging with him.

This highlights the problem with laws that do not adequately* restrict the possession of weapons in public places: it means that the people that police are engaging will be more likely to be armed. It also means that police have no idea whether the person they are dealing with is armed or not (in a traffic stop for example). It increases the risk to officers and thusly makes them more paranoid and jumpy. Throw in all the racism and you get lots of dead black people.

Here in Ireland, if a Garda pulls over a car in a routine traffic stop, they don’t have to worry that the occupant is armed because we have relatively strict gun laws here. Also, the Garda won’t be armed either (because most of our Gardaí aren’t armed), so the person they’re pulling over doesn’t have to worry that they’ll be shot dead by a paranoid, trigger happy, racist ass cop over a broken tail light (at worst they’ll likely get a fine and a bunch of penalty points on their license from a corrupt, over-bearing, racist ass Garda… but not shot dead).

So yeah, get rid of laws permitting public possession of fire arms (open carry or otherwise), restrict fire arm ownership generally, and start making the move towards disarming the police force. Obviously this has to be done in conjunction with making police far more accountable for their actions and tackling institutional racism at all levels. So much needs to be done but I think it is possible to achieve it in the long term.

*In my opinion the only adequate restriction would be complete restriction. Guns serve only to make any situation they are in more dangerous. Society doesn’t need that shit.

So yeah. Basically, the cops lied about Alton Sterling. His gun remained in his pocket until after they murdered him. He never pulled it out.


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