Amid the protests, investigations and blame game that immediately follows the unjustified shooting of a Black man, it's easy to forget the pain the family he left behind is going through. Today, we were reminded of that when Cameron Sterling, the 15-year-old son of Alton Sterling, broke down into tears during a family press conference addressing the death of his father at the hands of two cops.
Sterling was shot dead by police just after midnight on Tuesday in front of a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Lousiana. His family issued a statement on television just hours ago demanding justice for his death.
Sterling's partner Quinyetta McMillan said, "The individuals involved with his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis." She continued, "We are a complete community of individuals who will carry this burden and also stand together to ensure that this event will not go [without] justice, it will not go unnoticed, especially for the future." She added that the hardest thing for a parent to see is their child in pain knowing that there isn't anything they can do to help.
McMillan, and many others on the stage, were brought to tears when Cameron had to remove himself from his mother's side as he broke down, first in muffled tears and then in heaving sobs.
His sadness is truly heartbreaking as he can be heard wailing, "I want my daddy."
For those outside of Baton Rouge, Twitter has once again served as a place for protesters to rally and express their own anger and sadness.
Black Lives Matter activists have already begun to express their anger and disgust over Sterling's death. Members of the local community are taking to the streets to demand that the officers involved be punished, chanting, "Black lives matter" and "hands up, don't shoot."
This is a race issue. This is a police brutality issue. This is a gun issue. This is an American issue. Fix it now. #AltonSterling— Brandon Cloud (@theclobra) July 6, 2016
Sterling family lawyer Edmond Jordan spoke to CNN to say that he did not believe the involved officers' use of their firearms was justified and questioned why the officers fired and then waited to fire again. “The city has to give some good answers,” he said. “And I don’t think they will be able to.”
Jordan continued by urging protesters in Baton Rouge to remain peaceful out of respect for Mr. Sterling. While keeping the peace is important, it is also important to make sure that the city of Baton Rouge — and the rest of the country — knows that for police to stop killing Black men in cold blood, they have to know that there is recourse. The men responsible must face justice for their crimes and it is up to protesters, both in the streets and on Twitter, to continue to express their outrage until that happens.
(Photo: ABC News)