I join with our community leaders, elected officials, and everyone involved in this tragedy in calling for unity during this very difficult time. From the time I was made aware of the2 shooting of Mr. Alton Sterling early yesterday, I have remained in continuous contact with Col. Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police and numerous other law enforcement officials as this situation develops. Donna and I extend our sincere prayers and condolences to Mr. Sterling’s family.
“This morning, after meeting with State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson and East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore, I spoke personally to the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, Walt Green.
“Today, I have called for the U.S. Department of Justice to lead this investigation going forward. The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the US Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, and the FBI have agreed to work this investigation along with the Louisiana State Police assisting when asked.
“Following our conversations this morning, I have full confidence that the U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a thorough, transparent investigation from beginning to end. I will demand that, as all of you should.
“Based on the information I have obtained from law enforcement and the footage I’ve seen from one publicly available video – that from the handheld cell phone, I have to tell you that I have very serious concerns. This video is disturbing.
“I will meet this afternoon with faith-based community leaders and I am asking those leaders in the faith-based community as well as our local and state elected officials to work together to continue to call for peace and calm across our community as details continue to unfold. I know this may be difficult; I know that we all have strong feelings regarding the events that took place. I know protests are going on, and I am urging everyone to remain peaceful. One thing is for sure – another violent act or another family torn apart is not the answer.
“In Louisiana, we are known for our ability to come together in times of great need. This is one of those times. While the investigations get underway, I am asking everyone to walk thru this difficult time together and safely.”
Foster Campbell issued the following statement regarding the press conference Governor John Bel Edwards held on Wednesday morning:
"I fully support the outside, independent investigation of the Alton Sterling shooting by the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. I am hopeful we are able to come together as a community to get through this difficult time as more facts emerge.”
"Tragedies can divide us but they can also unite us. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Alton Sterling and with all who are directly impacted by his death early yesterday, but I am also praying for our entire city - those who didn't know Mr. Sterling or the police officers personally but whose emotions, attitudes and perceptions are still impacted. That includes all of us.
"Police Chief Carl Dabadie, District Attorney Hillar Moore and other law enforcement agencies must carry out a full, fair and open investigation into this event. The public must be kept informed of each step along the way. The people of Baton Rouge are demanding the truth and we deserve the truth, no matter what the investigation shows. We all must also accept, however, that examining the details of Tuesday's shooting will take time, and we have to be patient as it runs its course.
"While we wait, we must unite under the rule of law. If we gather in protest, it must be peaceful. The world is watching to see if we devolve into chaos or unite and emerge with an ever stronger commitment to justice. I have faith. I believe in the people of Baton Rouge. Let us come together now. Let us seek answers and learn the facts. And once the truth is known, we will take action - together, as one Baton Rouge."
CONGRESSMAN CEDRIC RICHMOND
"The video footage released today of the shooting of Alton Sterling by officers of the Baton Rouge Police Department was deeply troubling and has understandably evoked strong emotion and anger in our community," said Rep. Richmond. "I share in this anger and join the community in the pursuit of justice. My prayers and thoughts are with Mr. Sterling's family as they deal with this tragedy."
"There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding Mr. Sterling's death. Including questions about the initial calls for police presence, the level of force used by officers, the verbal and physical altercation, and the response of the officers after he was shot. I call on the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a full and transparent investigation into this incident. The cause of justice requires state and local law enforcement to join in this request as soon as possible."
"I ask the leaders and citizens of Baton Rouge to join me in demonstrating our anger with dignity and demanding proper focus on our cause with perseverance. His family and the citizens of Baton Rouge--especially the citizens of North Baton Rouge--deserve answers and that is what we will seek in a fair, thorough, and transparent way."