The Justice Department has launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, an African-American resident of Baton Rouge, La.

Footage taken on a cell phone captured two white Baton Rouge officers pinning Sterling to the ground, with his hands behind his back, before shooting and killing him in front of a local convenience store early Tuesday. There were reports that Sterling might have had a gun, but officials refused to say definitively whether he was armed.

Protests spurred in the city after the video went viral on social media and celebrities ranging from Jesse Williams to Bernie Sanders have taken to Twitter to lend their voices to the cause.

The celebrity outcries ranged from “That’s Murder” to “Please provide a list of infractions punishable by spontaneous public execution.” “Insecure” star and creator Issa Rae created a scholarship fund in honor of Sterling.



How many more murders of black people by police before we hold our system and those that enforce it accountable? The footage of Alton Sterling being murdered by a police officer is equal parts horrific, infuriating and devastating. How many times can we watch a family at a press conference in hysterics over the killing of their loved one? Murdered by those that have been assigned to protect us. What do we do in times like these? It's a question for everyone, but specifically white people. The systematic oppression that enables a murder like this, will be corrected once white people care enough to change it. Alton Sterling didn't create this problem. This is hundreds of years of conditioning. We have been told our entire lives that people that look like Alton Sterling, selling CD's outside of a store, are a threat to our society. The news, TV, movies, jails, history books, schools and our laws all uphold this false belief. A person isn't born fearing someone because of the color of their skin. This fear is taught, crafted and instilled in the fabric of our American lives. And although we make strides and progress is measurable at times, I can't help but think....If I was put in the exact same situation that Alton was in, I would be alive today...Because of the color of my skin. And he's dead because of his. I often don't know what to do during these moments. It becomes easier to vent on social media than to take direct action. Here's a couple things I've gotten hip to in the last 2 years. 1: Financially support black led organizations. Put your resources behind people of color that are at the forefront of the movement 2: Do a People's Institute "Undoing racism" training. One of the most eye opening and important tools to understanding our past in relation to the work that needs to be done. The website is http://www.pisab.org 3: Have conversations about race. In real life. With people that look like you and people that don't. RIP #altonsterling

A photo posted by Ben Haggerty (@macklemore) on