WASHINGTON — Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond called on the Justice Department Wednesday to investigate the death of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old man shot as he lay on the ground with two Baton Rouge police officers on top of him.
A video of the Tuesday incident, which was posted to social media, gained national attention and sparked protests in Louisiana, and Richmond hopes an investigation can solve some of the “unanswered questions” the incident raises.
“There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding Mr. Sterling’s death. Including questions about the initial calls for police presence, the level of force used by officers, the verbal and physical altercation, and the response of the officers after he was shot,” Richmond said Wednesday in a statement.
Richmond’s district includes Baton Rouge, where protesters gathered outside of the convenience store where the shooting occurred Tuesday night. On Twitter, #AltonSterling was trending later in the day Tuesday with high-profile users like singer Zendaya and Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., commenting on the shooting.
“I ask the leaders and citizens of Baton Rouge to join me in demonstrating our anger with dignity and demanding proper focus on our cause with perseverance,” Richmond added. “His family and the citizens of Baton Rouge — especially the citizens of North Baton Rouge — deserve answers and that is what we will seek in a fair, thorough, and transparent way.”
Baton Rouge police told CNN that detectives will review the video. Local police say it was not sent to them, but that it was first given to the media and put on social media.
The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, as is standard procedure following an officer-involved shooting.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.