Saturday, July 9, 2016

Remembering The Two Killings That Triggered Last Night's Tragic Shootings In Downtown Dallas (WARNING: Graphic Content)

Days before last night's horrific killings of five police officers in downtown Dallas there were two other unspeakable tragedies that occurred involving law enforcement. It would remiss to forget these tragedies since they were the reason why all those people were out that night protesting. Ironically it was those tragedies that brought the five doomed officers out to stand among those very protestors.

On Thursday several thousand protestors took to the streets across the nation in response to the unprovoked shooting deaths of two black men at the hands of police officers. Those two men were named Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Here are the stories of how they died at the hands of those who were supposed to protect them.

Alton Sterling

Alton Sterling was a 37-year-old father of five who was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tuesday morning. The entire incident was captured on two videos by bystanders and had sparked outrage in the community and on social media.

The incident started outside the Triple S Food Mart where Sterling was selling CDs as he had for several years after being given permission to by the owner of the store. Around 12:00 am the police received a disturbance call in which a homeless man claimed Sterling had threatened him with a gun.

Two Baton Rouge Police officers responded to the disturbance call according to police spokesman Corporal L’Jean Mckneely Jr.. Mckneely claimed that was when the altercation between Sterling and the officers ensued in which Sterling was ultimately shot and died at the scene.

In the video, which starts after the police have arrived, an officer can be heard yelling “get on the ground,” out of the view of the cell phone video. Then when the camera pans up an officer is seen charging at Alton Sterling, who is not resisting, who then grabs him, tackles him on to the hood of a car and then down to the pavement.

Another officer is then seen kneeling on Sterling with his full weight. After a few seconds one of the officers yells, “He’s got a gun!” The officer seen in the video kneeling on Sterling draws his weapon and one of them says, “if you f*cking move, I swear to God!

Two shots can then be heard and the bystander drops the cell phone. Three more shots are then fired after a brief pause.

Here is the struggle and shooting caught on cell phone video by the first bystander...

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Here is the second video captured by yet another bystander CAUTION: VERY GRAPHIC!...

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The coroner's repot shows Sterling was shot twice in the chest and three times in the back.

The officers have been identified as Officer Blane Salamoni and Officer Howie Lake II. The officers, both 28-year-olds with less than five years with the department. Both were reported to have been wearing body cameras, but officials claim they ‘fell off’ during the incident. The two have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Despite having a criminal record, Darian Gardner, his friend, told a local newspaper that Sterling, “didn’t cause any harm to the community. He was nice. He wasn’t a bad guy. He was respectable.

Sterling was known as “CD Man” and was living in a shelter in Baton Rouge, Living Waters Outreach Ministries in recent months.

Philando Castile

Philando Divall Castile was a 32 year old Minnesota man who was shot by a police officer after a traffic stop and whose dying moments were then live streamed via Facebook Live by his fiance' Diamond Reynolds. It is revealed in the video that Reynolds' 4 year old daughter in the back seat of the car during the entire ordeal.

Reynolds alleges that after the initial stop Castile alerted the officers that he had a concealed carry permit and was in possession of a legal firearm. The officer then apparently asked Castile to produce the permit and his ID. When Castillo reach for his wallet the officer opened fire and shot him five times.

That is there the video begins.

The close to 10 minute video opens with Castile moaning in pain as he bleeds through his white T-shirt as the officer who just shot him points a gun through the car window.

Reynolds is heard saying...

"He let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,"

Though you never see the officer's face, you can hear the fear/agitation in his voice as he tells Reynolds to keep her hands visible.

Composed, as she remains through much of the video, Reynolds replies, "I will, sir, no worries. I will."

The officer still sounding distressed shouts...

"I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand off it."

After several agonizing minutes Reynolds and her child are directed out of the car, she is handcuffed and both put in the back of a squad car. It is 15 minutes before any medical attention is given to the dying Castile.

Here is the video - CAUTION: VERY GRAPHIC!...

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The officers, from the St. Anthony Police Department, have now been identified as Jeronimo Yanez and Joseph Kauser. Yanez fired the shots.

Philando Castile was a popular school cafeteria worker with no felony arrests.

This post is not in any way meant to excuse the shootings in Dallas but is intended only to give them some kind of context.

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