The U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will investigate the killing by police of a black man outside a Baton Rouge, La., convenience store early yesterday, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Alton Sterling, 37, a black man known for selling CDs outside the store, was shot by a white police officer. As video of Sterling apparently being shot to death at close range spread among protesters, rage over this latest police-involved killing stretched into a slow burn. They were freely stopping traffic in a major four-lane intersection nearby, hopping on the hoods of cars and lighting fireworks in the street.
Some onlookers said they were resigned to the idea that the race-fueled civil unrest visited upon cities like Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo., had arrived in Baton Rouge. The city has clear dividing lines separating the affluent white population from sprawling neighborhoods of African-Americans living in poverty. “When I saw the video — that’s messed up. You don’t take somebody’s life,” said Alexis Taylor, 21. The store’s owner said he saw officers remove a gun from Sterling’s pocket after the shooting. Police officers were called to the store at 12:35 a.m. after someone called police to report a man selling CDs had threatened him with a gun, according to the Associated Press.