17 Important Tweets About Alton Sterling That You Need To See

The first summer I started writing for Gurl.com was the summer of the Trayvon Martin verdict. Police brutality (or, in that case, wannabe police) certainly wasn’t new, but social media helped turn a story that could have stayed relatively unknown in some local Florida paper, into an international one. I wrote about the social media reactions, about how Trayvon’s death hit close to home as a black woman, and kept it moving. I didn’t expect to write another post the next summer about Mike Brown, or about Eric Garner. I didn’t expect to write about the Spring Valley incident, in which a black teen girl was violently thrown to the ground by a school officer, and  I didn’t expect to write about the Baltimore Riots in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death either. And who could forget Sandra Bland? But here I am again, with another post, about another black person who was killed by the police. Last night, 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot and killed by a Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officer. He leaves behind a wife and children.

We’re still waiting for more details to emerge, including whether or not Sterling had a gun on his person and whether he truly threatened someone with it, which allegedly prompted the 911 call. But from the video that emerged, it’s pretty clear that Sterling was pinned to the ground by the officers when one of them shouted “He’s got a gun!” before and shooting Sterling multiple times. How a police officer felt as if his life was in immediate danger when Sterling was pinned, I’m not sure. But aren’t police officers supposed to de-escalate situations and attempt to disarm suspects instead of shooting them in the chest? My cynical side says, “Pfft, not if you’re black!” and I won’t apologize for it. On top of that, the police officers’ body cameras allegedly fell off during the scuffle, so the only video proof we have of the incident was from a spectator. What if this incident wasn’t filmed? What if this became another story that stayed hush hush and never left the Baton Rouge rumor mill? I shudder to think, but most depressingly, I know that this won’t be the last time a black person’s death at the hands of the police will become a hashtag.

For a little more context about the situation and some food for thought regarding police brutality and racism, check out these 17 tweets. It’s time to wake up and acknowledge that racism is still a massive problem in America, and people are actually dying because of it.


1. We’re tired.


2. This statistic is absolutely staggering.


3. This short video delves into the way white and black Americans perceive racism in America very differently from each other.


4. People were sincerely more outraged by a zoo killing a gorilla than they are by a man getting killed by the police under suspicious circumstances.


5. Just a reminder that behind every person killed by the police, is a family that has to deal with the aftermath. Sterling’s teen son shouldn’t have to deal with this.


6. How are body cams coming off so easily? It’s 2016, we have the technology to prevent that from happening.


7. BOOM.


8. BTW, girls/women are victims of police brutality, too. Look up Rekia Boyd.


9. SIGH.


10. This is systematic racism in practice. Open your eyes, guys.


11. I’ve seen a disturbing number of people justify this shooting. It’s actually nauseating.


12. Every. Time.


13. Sad but probably true.


14. Why aren’t more police officers calling out bad police practices?


15. On that note…


16. Police brutality isn’t new, at all. Sometimes we even joke about it to ease the pain.


17. Hopefully, the Alton Sterling trial doesn’t have the same ending.


What do you think should be done to prevent police brutality? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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