Within three days, Tuesday through Thursday, three tragedies happened in the United States, leaving 7 people dead– Two black Americans and five police officers. 11 police officers were shot. These events are one of a series of killings in the US in recent times.
On Tuesday, July 5, a 37-year-old black man Alton Sterling who was better known as “CD man”– he was selling tunes and DVDs in front of a convenience store– was shot dead by two police officers. He was killed in Alton in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. CNN reports that “a homeless man made the 911 call that brought the police to the convenience store where Alton Sterling was shot dead.”
A graphic phone video of the killing went viral on social media culminating in vigils and memorials across the United States. The video shows an officer pulls Sterling over the hood of a silver car and pins him to the ground. Once he’s down, the officer begins to assist a second officer in restraining him. Yelling ensues, though it’s hard to make out what’s being said. Then there are two bangs. Witnesses inside the car shout and swear. Three more bangs go off. A woman in the car starts crying.
And then the following day, on Wednesday, Philando Castile, an African-American school nutrition service supervisor reportedly loved by many, was killed when four bullets were shot into him by a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota a week and half before his 33rd birthday. His fiancee Diamond Reynolds, who broadcast the killing via a Facebook video, explained how Castile was pulled over for a broken taillight by the police officer. She revealed that her fiance was shot in the process of questioning. He later died at Hennepin County Medical Center.
Meanwhile on Thursday night, five police officers were shot dead in Dallas, a city in Texas, one of the 50 states in the US. It happened during a street protest against police violence in the US. Eleven others were injured, according to media reports.
President Obama reacted to the killings on Friday morning. On his official Facebook page, he wrote “All Americans should be deeply troubled by the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. We’ve seen such tragedies far too many times, and our hearts go out to the families and communities who’ve suffered such a painful loss.”
Obama says “it’s not just a black issue, but an American issue.” He concluded by saying “Rather than fall into a predictable pattern of division and political posturing, let’s reflect on what we can do better. Let’s come together as a nation, and keep faith with one another, in order to ensure a future where all of our children know that their lives matter.”
Ordinary Americans and celebrities alike have been reacting to this spate of violence.
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