Will there be justice for Alton Sterling?

Well, depends on what your definitiom of justice is?

Alton Sterling was shot to death while being held down by two, white police officers of the Baton Rouge Police Department. The shooting occurred on July 16, 2016 which was followed by protests in the city of Baton Rouge. Sterling was 37 years of age, Black, with 5 children. Everyone knew him lcoally as the man who sold CDs to make a living for himself and his family.

It was a sad day to see his son on the television drenched in tears as his mother gave her thoughts on the shooting. She reflected on how Alton Sterling had a good heart and meant well, however he did have his encounters with law enforcement in the past. 

Following the shooting, the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) opened a federal investigation of the Baton Rouge Police Department. Me, I am all too familiar with DOJ reports that point out the pitfalls of police departments or agencies and how they should improve their behaviors and functions (google Department of Justice report on Ferguson Police Department, that is a good one for starters). 

Well, back to the question at hand… Justice? Many people flock to the common consensus of “this system was not made for us, so it won’t protect us” but when I examine the system, I see that it was made for Americans. Laws and regulations guide our everyday behaviors even those who practice, so at the end of the day, it is about the choices we make and how they affect us.

Justice in the case of Alton Sterling takes several meanings…

  • Let’s lock the officers involved up and throw away the key
  • Sentence the officers to death (very touchy)
  • Pay the family of Alton Sterling a lump sum of money for a violation of his civil rights

And that’s just to name a few but will it happen? Who knows? As a student pursuing a master’s degree in the field of criminal justice, I see both angles and I see all scenarios. I am not saying the officers had to act the way they did and nor am I saying Alton Sterling’s shooting is justified. I am SAYING, when will JUSTICE be JUSTIFIED? 

The cup is empty, Black Coffee🖤☕️


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