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US Justice Department to investigate police shooting

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US Justice Department to investigate police shooting

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The US Justice Department is to investigate the fatal shooting of a black man by police in Louisiana.

It is reported the US attorney, the FBI and federal prosecutors will be involved in the inquiry.

What happened?

Footage taken on a mobile phone appears to show two white police officers restraining and then shooting Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge on Tuesday.

The graphic video was taken by the owner of the shop in whose car park the shooting happened.

It is said to show the 37-year-old being shot five times.

The father-of-five died at the scene.

“Administrative leave”

Two police officers have been placed on “administrative leave” in connection with the death.

Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie says they were responding to an emergency report of a man reported to have made threats with a gun.

“Black lives matter”

The graphic video images of the shooting have unleashed protests and an outcry on social media.

Scores of people have gathered at the scene of the shooting, which happened on Tuesday.

They have blocked roads, chanting: “Black lives matter.”

Speakers called for peaceful protests, justice and unity.

  • Hundreds attended a prayer vigil
  • Brass band played music
  • A mural of Sterling was painted on a wall near where he was shot

The state governor has urged the protesters to remain calm.

Fact check

Figures for 2015 suggested there were more than 1,000 fatal shootings by police in the US each year.

So far, in 2016, 560 people have been killed in this manner.

A large number of the victims are black Americans.

On its website “The Counted”, the Guardian newspaper keeps a record of the number of people killed by enforcement agencies in the US each year.

You can see the latest figures here

More information can be found at the US Bureau of Justice Statistics here

What they are saying

“I have very serious concerns. The video is disturbing, to say the least,” – Governor John Bel Edwards says there will be an independent investigation.

“I’m heartbroken. It’s outrageous, it’s crazy.” – Abdullah Muflahi, owner of the food store who allowed Sterling to sell CDs in the car park.

“If we stand divided, we are already defeated,” – Bishop Gregory Cooper of Baton Rouge told the crowd of protesters.

“Something is profoundly wrong when so many Americans have reason to believe that our country doesn’t consider them as precious as others because of the colour of their skin,” – presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.

There was no immediate statement from presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

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