And the black community can't help but fall in love with him (as his death is yet another excuse to boastfully claim Black Lives Matter... in a city where black on black homicide is a fact of life). [Alton Sterling eked out living peddling CDs in Baton Rouge parking lot where he was killed, The Advocate, July 6, 2016]:
|St. Alton Sterling: in a sane society, he would have been put down or sterilized decades ago... in our society, he helps showcase collective black character in his death.|
Alton Sterling hustled all his life, trying to scrape together enough money in $5 increments by selling copies of movies, albums and games.
A fixture in front of the Triple S Food Mart, where he was shot by a Baton Rouge police officer early Tuesday, neighbors and friends described the 37-year-old Sterling as a friendly, kind-hearted man who spent nights peddling his wares.
“If you asked Alton for the shirt off his back, he’d give it to you. Alton would give you the world,” Lorna Sterling, an aunt who helped raise him following his mother’s death, said Tuesday evening while standing in the parking lot of the store. “Alton sits out here until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. All he did was sell his CDs and DVDs and go eat.”
A cousin who grew up with Alton Sterling described his upbringing as “a rough childhood” — his mother died in 1986 and he went on to lives with other relatives — but said he’d stayed close with his family and had a sharp sense of humor.
“He always could make you laugh,” said the cousin, Sharida Sterling, who added she thought of Alton as a brother. “You know how when something like this happens people always say good, good, good things? Well, he really was a good person. You won’t hear a bad story from nobody.”
Alton Sterling’s life was punctuated by arrests and jail terms stretching back to 1996, including an encounter with police similar to the one that ended in his death.
In May 2009, he was selling CDs outside a convenience store when a Baton Rouge officer asked if he had any weapons or drugs on him, according to a police report.
Sterling didn’t answer, and the officer had him put his hands on the police car, the report said. While being frisked for weapons, Sterling tried to reach into his front left pocket for an unknown item, the officer wrote.
Sterling then tried to run from the officer, who grabbed the back of his shirt and pushed him to the ground. During the struggle, a stolen 9mm semi-automatic pistol fell from Sterling’s waist band, the report said. Officers also found a small plastic bag of suspected marijuana in Sterling’s front left pocket.
Sterling later pleaded guilty in May 2011 to illegal carrying of a weapon with a controlled dangerous substance, and was sentenced to five years in July 2011.
Relatives said most of the crimes Sterling may have committed came while trying to eke out a living.
“He did some time in jail, got out, and came out here selling CDs, trying to make an honest living,” said Sharida Sterling.
After returning home from that prison term, Lorna Sterling said her nephew had resolved to steer clear of trouble and take care of his five children, including a set of twins. She also said his brother died about six months ago.
The owner of the Triple S Food Mart, Abdullah Muflahi, said he’d happily allowed Alton to set up shop outside his building since getting to know him about six years ago.
Cameron Sterling, Alton’s 15-year-old son, broke down in tears at a press conference Wednesday morning outside the Baton Rouge City Hall, turning away from the crowd into the embrace of supporters and shielding his face in a shirt.
His mother — Quinyetta McMillion — said anyone watching the widely circulated cell phone video of Sterling’s death “will see with your own eyes how he was killed unjustly and without regard for the lives he helped raise.”
McMillion, choking back tears herself as she spoke to reporters, said focusing on Sterling’s past mistakes “obscured the image of a man who was simply trying to earn a living to take care of his children.”
Muflahi, who witnessed and filmed the shooting outside his store, said Sterling was occasionally harassed by police officers — an account echoed by several relatives — but said there were never issues.
Robert Crosby, a contractor who did maintenance on Muflahi’s store, said he got to know Sterling at the Triple S and occasionally passed him a bit of cash.
“He’d been working hard for himself, sitting out here in 110 degree heat every day,” Crosby said. “He’d served his time and was trying to do right.”
“I’d never seen him get out of hand with anyone,” said Elvina Scott, who lives nearby and said she’d bought a CD from Sterling a few minutes before the shooting. Scott said Alton told her not to worry about paying the cash that night.
“He said, ‘I’ll get the five dollars from you tomorrow, sister,’” Scott said.
Some criminal convictions continued to haunt Alton Sterling. In a 2000 carnal knowledge of a juvenile case, Sterling pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl when he was 20 years old.
The conviction required that Sterling register as a sex offender, something Baton Rouge authorities alleged he’d failed to do in a May arrest warrant. A count of failing to register was pending against him at the time of his death, as were charges of possession of Ecstasy and marijuana.
Sterling had been living at a halfway house, where he’d registered. But a probation officer who checked on him in August was told by the center manager that Sterling hadn’t lived there for two weeks. He’d also spent time living with aunts and other relatives, they said.
Vereta Lee, an East Baton Rouge school board member who said she’s known the Sterling family for years, described Alton Sterling as “a very nice, kind fellow” trying his best to provide for his family and stay out of trouble, given a tough set of circumstances — a job that kept him outside in an often rough neighborhood until late in the night.
“He wasn’t making much but enough to try to feed himself,” Lee said.Trayvon Martin.
And now Alton Sterling.
Under Jim Crow, Sterling would still be alive because he wouldn't have ever been allowed to peddle his (probably) stolen products: sundown laws would have prevented him from being out at night.
Every police interaction with a black criminal that escalates into inevitable black racial solidarity with the dead black suspect is but another opportunity to see true black collective character.
This is why we must judge them all harshly, for who they decide to protest in memory of.
And for those arguing he didn't do nothing, here's Sterling's arrest history.[Sterling shooting: Protests continue as FBI takes over investigation, WTVM.com, July 7, 2016]:
It's time to start judging black people by the character of those black criminals shot by police they then decide to make saints out of...Sterling's mother told the media that Sterling had a prior history with police including felony arrests. Court records show his arrest history includes:
- 9/09/96: Aggravated battery
- 10/31/97: Second-degree battery
- 1/06/98: Simple battery
- 5/04/00: Public intimidation
- 9/20/00: Carnal knowledge of a juvenile
- 9/04/01: Domestic violence
- 5/24/05: Burglary of an inhabited dwelling place
- 7/11/05: Receiving stolen things
- 9/12/05: Burglary of inhabited dwelling place
- 3/17/06: Simple criminal damage to property, simple robbery, simple theft, drug possession, misrepresentation during booking, simple battery,
- 4/12/06: Aggravated battery, simple criminal damage to property, disturbing the peace, unauthorized entry
- 4/04/08: Domestic abuse battery
- 6/03/09: Resisting an officer, drug possession, receiving stolen things, possession of stolen firearm, illegal carrying of a weapon with CDs, sound reproduct without consent
- 10/12/09: Illegal carrying of weapon, marijuana possession
- 8/13/15: Failure to register as a sex offender
- 4/08/16: Failure to register as a sex offender
- 6/14/16: Ecstasy and marijuana possession