DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Outrage over the officer-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge has ignited protests around the nation, including here in Dallas. Religious leaders plan to hold a march on Thursday night from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Belo Garden Park.
The rally is being called a local push for justice, with protestors lending their voices to the struggle against police brutality.
The officer-involved shooting has caught the attention of the Justice Department, and sparked similar protests in many cities across the country. Sterling was gunned down while selling CDs outside of a convenience store. The store’s owner said that he gave permission to the 37-year-old man.
But, on Tuesday night, someone called 911 claiming that Sterling had threatened them with a gun.
Police arrived at the scene and used a Taser on Sterling, before tackling him to the ground and shooting him to death. Officers stated that he was armed. The entire incident was captured on video by the convenience store’s security camera and a witness with a cell phone.
The convenience store’s owner said that Sterling never had the gun in his hand. He claimed that officers removed the weapon from the man’s pocket after the shooting took place. The officers have been identified as Blaine Salamoni and Howie Lake II. They are now both on administrative leave.
“Mr. Sterling was not reaching for a weapon,” said state Rep. Edmond Jordan, an attorney for Sterling’s family. “He looks like a man that was actually fighting for his life.”
Dallas minister Dominique Alexander just returned from visiting Sterling’s family in Baton Rouge, and will be at the Thursday night march. “We’re coming here to go in front of the federal building, because we know Mr. Sterling’s case is currently being investigated by the DOJ and the FBI,” Alexander said. “You want to send a strong message and a united front throughout the United States that enough is enough.”
While the shooting incident in Baton Rouge is what sparked the Thursday night rally, a number of other police shootings and incidents from around the country are sure to be addressed as well, including a man in Minnesota who was shot and killed by police on Wednesday night.
In addition to the Thursday night march, North Texas religious leaders plan to travel to Baton Rouge on Saturday, meeting up with other protestors from across the country to express their concerns together, in person.