Overnight, we learned the name Alton Sterling. Thanks to a graphic video, we've now seen his death at the hands of Baton Rouge police officers in a convenience store parking lot. Taken with a bystander's cellphone, the video shows Sterling being Tasered, thrown on a car and then on the ground, with police officers on top of him. It cuts away as multiple shots are heard, leaving Sterling's lifeless body on the ground.
Sterling is one of 122 black Americans shot and killed by police so far in 2016, according to a Washington Post database of fatal police shootings. He joins Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, John Crawford and many others who became hashtags and trending topics on social media soon after their deaths. And like many before him, Sterling's death can now be watched in graphic detail, shared constantly.
In some ways, the video is helpful. It's the only record the public has seen of Sterling's death -- reportedly, the body cameras worn by the officers involved became dislodged as Sterling was restrained, and it has also been reported that police confiscated the security camera footage recorded by the convenience store.