A disturbing bystander video appearing to show the deadly confrontation later emerged online. In the video, which is embedded below, a man can be seen struggling with two officers who take him to the ground. As one officer pins one of the man’s arms, a voice shouts, “He’s got a gun!”
WARNING: Graphic video below.
One officer then says, “Hey, bro, you fucking move I swear to God,” and both officers appear to draw weapons. After a moment of unintelligible shouting, one of the officers appears to fire his weapon.
Speaking to The New Orleans Advocate, convenience store owner Abdul Muflahi provided his own account of the shooting, which he says was preceded by the officers trying to pin Sterling to a parked car and firing a Taser at him:
At some point Sterling was tackled to the ground on his back, with one officer pinning down his chest, and another pressing on his thigh, Muflahi said.
Muflahi, who said he was two feet away from the altercation, said an officer yelled “gun” during the scuffle. An officer then fired four to six shots into Sterling’s chest, he said.
“His hand was nowhere (near) his pocket,” Muflahi said, adding that Sterling wasn’t holding a weapon. After the shooting, an officer reached into Sterling’s pocket and retrieved a handgun, Muflahi said.
“They were really aggressive with him from the start,” Muflahi said about the officers.
Sterling appeared to die quickly, Muflahi said. Just after the killing, the officer who fired the bullets cursed, and both officers seemed like they were “freaking out,” Muflahi said.
The store owner said he heard one of the officers say, “Just leave him.”
Police spokesperson L’Jean McKneely said both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting, per department policy.
“It’s an ongoing investigation,” McKneely told WAFB. “We are going to interview the officers and get as much information as we need to do a thorough investigation. We’re going to be clear, precise and sure the community knows what transpired here at this location.”
According to State Representative Denise Marcelle, who sponsored a bill to equip Baton Rouge officers with body cameras and attended a protest of the shooting Tuesday night, police say both officers’ body cameras fell off during the confrontation, but at least one dash camera and one surveillance camera recorded the incident.