Since 2015, Baton Rouge Police's Only Killings Have Been Black Men

The fact that Baton Rouge police have only killed black men since June 2015 exemplifies the root issue behind Alton Sterling's death.

The horrific shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday became yet another instance of police brutality in a seemingly unending series—114 black people have been shot by police in 2016 alone.

Sterling, a 37-year-old father of three, was shot multiple times in his chest and back outside of a convenience store where he was selling CDs. Sterling displayed no signs of being armed (although police later uncovered a gun from his pocket) and was not hostile, as video evidence later confirmed.

His case sparked immediate sadness and outrage, considering he exemplifies that shootings such as these are not arbitrary: They are part of a systemic issue in our law enforcement.

Statistics in Louisiana corroborate this.  According to Mic, police in Baton Rouge have only killed black people since the beginning of 2015 (yet African-Americans make up only about 45 percent of Baton Rouge's population).

Unsurprisingly, the cases are similar to what we have seen before. Kevin Bajoie, 32, was unarmed when he attempted to attack officers and they used their stun guns; he later died in a hospital due to alleged drug overdose, but his coroner believed  the Taser could have "contributed."

Calvin Smith, a mentally ill man, was shot and killed during a gunfight.

It has been proven that black men are twice as likely to be shot as white men, and tragic stories such as these demonstrate this—Baton Rouge, like many other cities, has an inherent problem with its police force and the way they approach potentially combative situations with black men. 

The city's police have a lengthy history of issues involving police brutality, and unless the root cause is addressed, we will continue to see more tragedies such as Sterling's. 

Banner Image Credit: Twitter, @Fusion

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