How five videos captured the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling
Baton Rouge police shot Alton Sterling to death on July 5, 2016, outside a convenience store. Two bystander videos were released not long after the shooting. On Friday, police released the body cam videos from officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II and security video from the store. Some things described in this story have been edited out of the videos CNN is using.
Video from store security camera.
There is no audio in this video. For most of its approximately 41 minutes, the video shows Sterling selling DVDs in front of the store. Sterling is packing up his goods when Lake arrives and confronts him. Salamoni arrives a short time later. He grabs Sterling’s neck and pushes him toward a car. Salamoni points his pistol at Sterling’s head. The officers back off and Sterling stands in front of a car with his hands up. Lake uses his Taser twice. Sterling drops to his knees briefly and stands again. Salamoni tackles Sterling and they bounce off the front of a truck and then a car. Salamoni straddles Sterling and Lake crouches over him. Lake pulls his gun and points it at Sterling’s head, and then Salamoni pulls out his gun and shoots Sterling in the chest. The officers get off Sterling, who rolls to the side. Salamoni shoots him again. Salamoni lies on the pavement for a few seconds, his gun in his hand. Lake reaches into Sterling’s pants pocket, removes something and carries it to his patrol car. Other officers arrive.
What video does not show: Sterling pointing a gun at a homeless person, as alleged in the 911 call that sent police to the convenience store.
Video from Lake’s body cam.
Lake approaches Sterling in the parking lot and says, “I need you to put your hands on the car.” Sterling says, “What are you talking about?” Salamoni arrives. Sterling appears to resist and the camera view becomes jerky. The officers pant, curse, and yell, “Get on the ground!” After 30 seconds of struggle, someone yells, “He’s got a gun.” A few seconds later shots are heard. When Lake stands up, his body cam shows Sterling lying on the ground in a blood-soaked red shirt. Lake calls for an ambulance. Lake tells Salamoni he put Sterling’s gun in his patrol car.
What video does not show: Sterling’s gun. The action is so close the shooting is heard but not seen.
Video from Salamoni’s body cam.
Salamoni approaches the store after Lake. Salamoni grabs Sterling’s neck and pushes him toward a car. They tell Sterling to put his hands on the car and he asks, “What I did?” Salamoni points his pistol at Sterling’s head and says, “Put your hands on the car or I’ll shoot you in the f****** head.” Salamoni says “Tase his a**” and the officers back off and Sterling stands in front of a car with his hands up. After being Tased, Sterling drops to his knees briefly and stands again. Salamoni tackles Sterling and the video gets blurry. Shots are fired. The body cam lies motionless on the ground for about 10 seconds. Salamoni reattaches the body cam and calls for an ambulance and more officers. Salamoni asks Lake, “Where’s the gun?” Lake replies, “It’s in my car. I got it.” Sterling lies on the ground.
What video does not show: The action is so close the shooting is heard but not seen.
Bystander video No. 1.
Shot from inside a car in the convenience store parking lot, the video begins in darkness and the sound of officers yelling, “Get on the ground,” and a popping sound, like a Taser. Salamoni is seen tackling Sterling and taking him to the ground. He and Lake hold down Sterling. Someone yells, “He has a gun,” and Lake pulls his pistol and points it at Sterling’s head. The sound of gunshots is heard and the people shooting the video shout and swear. A woman cries.
What video does not show: Sterling’s revolver. The view of Salamoni shooting Sterling is blocked by the front of a car.
Bystander video 2.
Sterling is already on his back and both officers are over him. After gunshots are heard, Salamoni rolls on his side on the pavement holding his pistol. Sterling lies on the pavement with blood on his chest. Lake is seen removing a pistol from Sterling’s pants pocket.
What video does not show: The view of Salamoni shooting Sterling is blocked by Lake’s body.