Chilling cell phone video surfaced Tuesday of two Louisiana cops killing a 37-year-old man selling music outside a Baton Rouge convenience store after an anonymous caller claimed he had a gun.
The police gunfire sparked impassioned protests that continued past midnight outside the store — 24 hours after authorities shot Alton Sterling during a fatal 12:35 a.m. encounter. More than 100 demonstrators shouting “no justice, no peace” clogged the street, setting off fireworks and blocking an intersection to protest Sterling’s death.
Alton Sterling, 37, was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge, La. on Tuesday.
The grim 48-second cell phone video of the killing outside Triple S. Food Mart shows two police officers tackling and wrestling a heavy-set man in a red shirt against the hood of a car before throwing him to the pavement.
“He’s got a gun,” one officer cries while the pair pinned Sterling to the ground.
“You f—–g move, I swear to God,” the other cop yells, before the two draw their weapons. The terrified bystander turns the camera phone away as five shots ring out — two of which a coroner said struck Sterling in the chest and back.
Protestors gather at the intersection of N. Foster and Fairfields after Sterling’s death.
“They shot him?” a man’s startled voice says in the video. “Yes,” a woman replies between sobs.
Officers responded to the store about 12:35 a.m. Tuesday after an anonymous caller said a man selling CDs and wearing a red shirt threatened him with a gun, said Baton Rouge Cpl. L’Jean McKneely.
In Louisiana, gun owners are allowed to carry weapons without a permit as long as they’re over 18 and not felons.
It’s unclear how Sterling obtained the weapon. His rap sheet dates back two decades with several drug, firearm, theft and assault arrests. He was sentenced to five years to prison for marijuana and weapon possession in 2009, the Advocate reported.
The owner of the store had no knowledge of an argument outside his store that led to the initial 911 call.
He later saw officers pull a gun from Sterling’s pocket after the shooting and acknowledged Sterling bought the firearm days earlier for protection after learning other disc sellers in the region had been robbed.
Abdullah Muflahi owns the store where Alton Sterling was shot and witnessed the event.
(Maya Lau / The Advocate)
“He was screaming, ‘What did I do,’ ‘What’s going on,” Triple St. Food Mart owner and witness Abdullah Muflahi told the Daily News.
Police confiscated the store’s surveillance footage that Muflahi said would have captured every second of the violent death outside his store.
Muflahi watched police kill Sterling, a father of three children and his friend of six years, he said. Sterling died steps from where he allowed him to peddle music daily.
“His hand was not in his pocket, nor did he have the gun in his hand,” he said, defending Sterling’s final moments.
A cop was seen on video using a stun gun on Sterling before the shooting.
“While he was laying there dying, the cop went inside his pocket to pull the gun out.”
Police have not confirmed whether Sterling was in possession of a gun.
“I think they really handled it the wrong way,” Muflahi added.
The officers were wearing body cams during the shooting, but the recording devices apparently came loose and were dangling from their chests during the incident, Baton Rouge police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely told the Advocate, a Baton Rouge newspaper.
At least one dashcam caught the killing on tape.
Sterling’s death at the hands of police comes almost two years after Staten Island resident Eric Garner died after being placed in a police chokehold.
Garner, 43 and black, was allegedly selling loose cigarettes on July 17, 2014, when white cop Daniel Pantaleo put the asthmatic man in a banned chokehold and he died after saying he could not breathe. The sickening takedown was captured on video obtained exclusively by the Daily News.
Demonstrators shouted “no justice, no peace” in the wake of Sterling’s shooting.
(Travis Spradling / The Advocate)
The death of Garner and other black men in police custody has given rise to protests around the country, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.
Baton Rouge police officials said two uniformed officers involved were placed on administrative leave following the killing, which is standard procedure in shootings.
“It just didn’t make sense for someone to become so angry that’s suppose to protect our lives and take this young man’s life,” Vereta Lee, a family friend of Sterling’s, told WAFB. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
The successful hack of a phone linked to the San Bernardino terror attacks is unlikely to help police win greater access to encrypted data contained inside thousands of smartphones sitting in evidence lockers nationwide, legal experts and law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
The process used to gain access to Syed Rizwan Farook‘s iPhone 5c might not work on other devices, according to an FBI official with knowledge of the investigation.
Though the FBI might want to use the new tool to help solve outstanding criminal cases, doing so would also make the process subject to discovery during criminal trials and place the information in the public domain, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Any application of the method used to access Farook’s phone would probably be limited to investigations that are unlikely to result in criminal cases, the official said.
“A technical option developed for a particular computing device may not work on other devices,” the FBI official said. “The effectiveness of these lawful methods may be limited by time and resources, and may lack the scalability to be a viable option for most investigations.”
News that the FBI found a way into Farook’s phone Monday drew excited reactions from police, who have long complained that encrypted data represents a major roadblock to routine police investigations. Thousands of smartphones sit in police evidence lockers across the country. At least 400 locked devices are in the possession of the Los Angeles Police Department and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.
“From all the chiefs that I’ve talked to, we’re hopeful this will give us some insight into how we’re going to be able to get into some of the phones sitting in all of our evidence rooms,” said Terry Cunningham, police chief in Wellesley, Mass., and president of the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police. “We’re clearly anxious to learn what they did and how they did it and if it can be replicated.”
Federal investigators have said little about how they gained access to Farook’s phone. The iPhone 5c was at the center of a looming court battle between the FBI and Apple, which rose out of a court order demanding that Apple create software that would allow the FBI to access encrypted data on the device.
Farook disabled the phone’s iCloud backup feature six weeks before the Dec. 2 attack, according to court filings. He had also enabled an auto-erase feature that would permanently destroy all data on the phone after 10 consecutive failed attempts to enter the device’s password.
A third party provided the FBI with a way to disable the password entry limit, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. The official also requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.
Despite the success involving Farook’s phone, it is unlikely that the process could be replicated on other devices, the official said.
Internal government policy might also limit what, if anything, the FBI could share about the method used to crack Farook’s phone, according to Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group.
If the government exploited a flaw in Apple’s security measures, it could be required to disclose that information to Apple under the “Vulnerabilities Equities Process,” Crocker said. The policy is weighted toward disclosure, but the government has successfully fought to keep such details private before.
Government agencies are allowed to share information about digital security flaws with one another, he said. But if the government chose not to share that information with Apple, it could also conceivably be barred from telling police agencies about the process used to unlock Farook’s phone.
“They certainly can share it within the federal government without disclosing it to Apple,” Crocker said. “The way I read the policy, sharing it with local police would be a dissemination outside the government.”
Though the debate over Farook’s phone did not land in criminal court, the fight between law enforcement and Silicon Valley over access to encrypted data is far from over. Though the FBI may have claimed a victory this week, some police leaders fear it won’t take long for Apple or another company to build tougher encryption methods.
“If the FBI did in fact find some type of a flaw that they were able to exploit, clearly the industry is going to say ‘We’ve got to find a way to plug that hole,'” Cunningham said.
A phone call with the last four Oregon refuge occupiers was live streamed on Youtube as they walked out of the wildlife refuge and surrendered to authorities Thursday, Feb. 11. (Youtube.com/Gavin Seim, KGW TV)
BURNS, Ore. — After 41 days, the armed occupation of a rural Oregon wildlife refuge ended peacefully here Thursday as the last four anti-government activists surrendered to FBI agents, following a dramatic and emotional hour-long negotiation with the final holdout broadcast live on YouTube.
After repeatedly threatening to shoot himself, complaining that he couldn’t get marijuana, and ranting about UFOs, drone strikes in Pakistan, leaking nuclear plants and the government “chemically mutating people,” the last occupier, David Fry, 27, lit a cigarette, shouted “Hallelujah” and walked out of his barricaded encampment into FBI custody.
“I don’t want to be put behind bars,” he said at one point. “I don’t want to take that risk…. I didn’t kill anybody.”
The FBI said it arrested David Fry at about 11 a.m. without incident. Before he was taken into custody, agents arrested Sandy Anderson, 48, of Idaho; her husband, Sean Anderson, 47; and Jeff Banta, 46, of Elko, Nev. They were taken to Portland to face federal charges.
Fry’s surrender, which had an audience of more than 30,000 people listening live, capped an extraordinary 18 hours in which America’s growing and extreme anti-government movement morphed into something that more closely resembled a strange and nerve-racking reality TV show.
That movement, which believes the federal government operates largely outside the powers granted to it in the Constitution, was energized by the sight of a handful of “patriots” and “constitutionalists” holding out against federal and state authorities in a drama that was fanned like a brush fire across like-minded social media accounts and YouTube.
Fry and the three others were all that remained of the occupation since shortly after authorities arrested the group’s leaders on Jan. 26 and, in the same encounter, fatally shot LaVoy Finicum, who had become a spokesman for the occupiers.
Those arrests and Finicum’s death marked a sudden, swift escalation in the law enforcement response to the occupation, which for weeks continued without any visible law enforcement presence in the area. Occupiers were allowed to come and go seemingly at will, prompting criticism and a letter from Gov. Kate Brown (D) calling for federal officials to bring a “swift resolution” to the situation.
Since the arrests last month, the four remaining occupants stayed in communication with the outside world via videos and phone calls in which they likened themselves to the revolutionaries who founded the nation. They spent about five hours Wednesday evening on a phone call, also carried live on YouTube to more than 60,000 listeners, and engaged in emotional and sometimes hysterical negotiations involving evangelist Franklin Graham and Michele Fiore, a fiery Nevada state legislator with a history of controversial statements.
During the phone call, the four alternatively expressed their willingness to die for their cause and their openness to surrender. They likened themselves to Mel Gibson’s character in the movie “Braveheart.” The occupiers had asked for Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, to negotiate on their behalf.
The livestream offered an extended look at mindset of these remaining people. One of them insisted that she would turn herself in to custody only if she could bring her gun. In the background, a voice could be heard on a bullhorn faintly telling the four to come out with their hands up.
Fiore, an early and vocal supporter of the occupation, spoke for hours with the occupiers, trying to keep them calm and urging them to turn themselves in.
“If we go to jail, that’s admitting that we did not follow the Constitution. And we did follow the Constitution,” Sandy Anderson told Fiore on the phone call. “… That’s why we’re here. We were standing up for the Constitution. Expressing our our First Amendment right to peacefully assemble. And they are crucifying us for that.”
By Thursday morning, with the occupiers willing to come out, four state representatives from Idaho and Nevada came to the refuge and offered to serve as human shields between the FBI and occupiers. “We figure the FBI would not shoot us,” said Idaho Rep. Judy Boyle (R).
His arrest Wednesday and the hours-long phone conversation marked the latest strange twists in a saga that began Jan. 2 when a small group seized the refuge in what they said was a show of support for two local ranchers convicted of arson and sentenced to prison.
That group, led by Ammon Bundy, Cliven’s son, adopted the name Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and said they were protesting the federal government’s involvement in land ownership in the area.
During this stop, the Oregon State Police shot Finicum after he tried to flee. The FBI released video showing that when he was shot, Finicum appeared to be reaching toward a loaded gun he was carrying, but the shooting prompted new protests and anger among anti-government protesters.
Fiore told the Las Vegas Sun that the FBI footage “looks like an ambush of tactical guys,” adding: “It looks like it might have been hired out. We have questions.”
After Ammon Bundy was arrested and Finicum killed, federal agents quickly blockaded the refuge and, as other occupiers fled or were arrested, the group dwindled to the four who were arrested Thursday.
So relieved this ordeal is over. Many thanks to law enforcement who brought the Harney County occupation to a close. 1/2
Law enforcement officials also said that additional charges were possible against people who were involved in the 2014 standoff at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in 2014.
The complaint against Cliven Bundy, filed Thursday, states that officers responding to his ranch faced a threat from armed people on bridges who “took sniper positions behind concrete barriers, their assault rifles aimed directly at the officers below.”
Bundy was charged Thursday with assaulting a federal officer, using or carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, interfering with commerce by extortion and obstructing the administration of justice.
A defiant Bundy had insisted last month that the government — which had attempted to confront him over money he owed for grazing his cattle on U.S. property, only for the federal agents to stand down after guns were aimed at them — has “no policing power” over his ranch.
Mark Pitcavage, senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, one of the country’s leading specialists on right wing radicals, said that a showdown like the one in Oregon “was inevitable … because the anti-government extremists have been itching for a confrontation with the federal government.”
Ammon Bundy, meanwhile, who had led the occupation charge, had initially released statements after his arrest asking those at the refuge to “stand down” and give up peacefully.
He changed his tone last week. In one statement, he made demands regarding how Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward should block off the refuge so the lands can be given “back to the people.” And in a recorded message after the indictment was unsealed, Bundy told the Oregon State Police and FBI to go home, leaving out any suggestion that the occupiers should leave.
Berman and Sullivan reported from Washington. Sarah Kaplan and Adam Goldman contributed to this report.
A phone call with the last four Oregon refuge occupiers was live streamed on Youtube as they walked out of the wildlife refuge and surrendered to authorities Thursday, Feb. 11. (Youtube.com/Gavin Seim, KGW TV)
BURNS, Ore. — The armed occupation of a wildlife refuge ended Thursday morning after more than a month, as the final occupant — a distraught-sounding man who had been yelling about having suicidal thoughts — could be heard surrendering to authorities.
This conclusion, broadcast on a livestream on YouTube, came after a tumultuous 41 days that saw a group seize the refuge before a series of arrests last month left just four people huddled there for two weeks. A law enforcement official said Thursday that the siege had ended peacefully.
Figures including a religious leader and a Nevada legislator had traveled to Oregon to try and coax the four remaining occupiers out of the refuge on Thursday, saying that the standoff was approaching a possible end after more than a month.
On Thursday morning, three of the four people surrendered without much incident, but on a telephone call from inside the refuge broadcast to more than 31,000 listeners on YouTube, a man identified as David Fry insisted that he would not come out “unless my grievances are heard.”
The occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon appears to be coming to an end after more than a month. These are the key people involved. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)
An increasingly agitated Fry was heard shouting at the people speaking to him, mentioned having suicidal thoughts and insisted that he was standing up to the federal government and demanded unspecified protections.
“I don’t want to be put behind bars,” he said at one point. “I don’t want to take that risk….I didn’t kill anybody.”
Fry at one point called President Obama a traitor, and his other comments veered from abortion and drone strikes in Pakistan to references to Vietnam, the Cold War and the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager killed in Florida in 2012.
Shortly before 11 a.m., Fry could be heard being told to put his hands behind his back and his side of the feed cut out.
This fluid situation on Thursday added to a saga that had already taken an unexpected turn the night before, when law enforcement officers surrounded the remaining four occupants at the refuge while other officers arrested Cliven Bundy, father of the group’s leader and himself a veteran of armed standoffs with federal agents, as he arrived in Portland.
Bundy was charged Thursday with six counts stemming from a 2014 incident at his ranch that saw hundreds of people — many of them armed — join him at the ranch to face off with federal agents going to seize cattle he was illegally letting graze on public lands. The biggest threat to the officers stemmed from “the bridges where gunmen took sniepr positions behind concrete barriers, their assault rifles aimed directly at the officers below,” the complaint stated.
He was charged Thursday with assaulting a federal officer, using or carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, interfering with commerce by extortion and obstructing the administration of justice.
It was not clear if the arrest of Bundy had any impact on the stated plans of the four remaining occupiers to surrender to the FBI, an agreement reached after a phone call with the four that was also streamed online Wednesday before an audience of tens of thousands.
At the ranch, meanwhile, had been reports that the occupiers would surrender at 8 a.m. here, but that time came and went with no sign of movement at the refuge. By 10 a.m., the livestream solely focused on an extended argument and negotiation involving Fry.
As the sun rose over the remote Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Thursday, the situation in some ways was unchanged from the previous 40 days: An occupying group unhappy with the federal government was inside the facility, which has become an unlikely nexus of national attention since it was seized Jan. 2.
The FBI said that its agents moved onto the refuge and surrounded the remaining occupiers Wednesday afternoon after one of them rode an all-terrain vehicle outside the group’s encampment.
“It has never been the FBI’s desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue, and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully,” Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Oregon division, said in a statement. “However, we reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene, and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area.”
The FBI has not released any additional statements on the negotiations or the standoff. However, the remaining occupiers gave their own accounts late Wednesday to a growing audience listening online over a period of several hours after the FBI surrounded the encampment.
The four had participated in a panicked phone conversation with supporters — including Nevada state assemblywoman Michele Fiore, an ally of the Bundy family — that was also broadcast over a livestream on YouTube.
This conversation’s audience ballooned to as many as 64,000 listeners at some point, an audience that discovered, through social media or news accounts, a surreal, frantic call with a Nevada lawmaker trying to calm the occupiers as they shouted about the Constitution, a shootout with the FBI, fears of prison and the movie “Braveheart.”
Fiore is an unusual peacemaker, an elected official from another state who has supported the Bundy family in the past and has a history of controversial comments that have continued through this occupation.
The FBI later released video footage showing Finicum almost running over one law enforcement official and then appearing to reach toward a loaded gun in his jacket. Before that footage was released, Fiore wrote on Twitter that Finicum “was just murdered with his hands up in Burns.” After the footage came out, Fiore told theLas Vegas Sunthat the video “looks like an ambush of tactical guys,” adding: “It looks like it might have been hired out. We have questions.”
Fiore had arrived in Portland on Wednesday after declaring her intention to meet with lawmakers to advocate for Ammon Bundy and others. After arriving at the airport, she was urging the occupiers to give up peacefully and take their fight to court while also reaching out to the FBI and trying to communicate with evangelist Franklin Graham, hoping to get him to the occupation site to witness a surrender.
The remaining holdouts going into Thursday were Fry, 27, who had been running a YouTube livestream; Sean and Sandy Anderson, a married couple; and a man named Jeff Banta, according to the Oregonian.
The livestream offered an extended look at their mindset. One of them insisted that she would only give herself into custody if she could bring her gun. In the background, a voice could be heard on a bullhorn faintly telling the four to come out with their hands up.
“They killed LaVoy,” one man could be heard yelling. Another person said: “We’re not giving them any reason” to fire, but added, “But my weapon is within reach.” Sandy Anderson said that giving up would be “giving myself into the hands of the enemy.”
In the end, after more than four hours, one of occupiers said they planned to emerge from the refuge Thursday morning as long as Fiore was there to act as a witness and ensure that the occupation ended peacefully.
Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, wrote on Facebook that he has been talking with the four holdouts for a week at their request and at the request of the FBI.
“I am on my way there. … Please keep them, law enforcement officials, and all involved in your prayers, that everyone will be safe,” he wrote early Thursday morning.
There was no sign of Graham or anyone else arriving at the refuge as the morning wore on, with a group of journalists and one supporter of the occupiers the only visible sight other than law enforcement vehicles.
Another prominent figure had also hoped to travel to the refuge. Cliven Bundy, the rancher who faced off with federal agents in 2014 before the government backed down, traveled to Portland on Wednesday night, where he was promptly arrested by FBI agents.
Bundy, 74, was taken to a detention center in Multnomah County. The FBI did not initially say whether his arrested related to the ongoing standoff or the 2014 confrontation before that was revealed in court documents Thursday.
A defiant Bundy had insisted last month that the government — which had attempted to confront him over the $2 million he owes for grazing his cattle on U.S. property, only to stand down after guns were aimed at federal agents — has “no policing power” over his ranch.
Experts had said the outcome of the Bundy ranch standoff “invigorated” anti-government groups. Mark Pitcavage, senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, one of the country’s leading specialists on right wing radicals, said that a showdown like the one in Oregon “was inevitable … because the anti-government extremists have been itching for a confrontation with the federal government.”
The refuge standoff began Jan. 2 when Ammon Bundy, Cliven’s son, and others traveled there to support two local ranchers convicted of arson and sentenced to prison. This group, which adopted the name Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, also said they were protesting the federal government’s involvement in land ownership in the area, a long-standing issue for people in Western states frustrated with how this land is managed.
Ammon Bundy, his brother and others were arrested Jan. 26 when law enforcement officers moved quickly to take them into custody while they traveled on a highway outside the refuge. It was during this encounter that Finicum attempted to flee and was shot.
By the next morning, federal agents had blockaded the refuge and, as other occupiers fled or were arrested, the occupation shrunk to the four who still remained Thursday morning.
Ammon Bundy and the four still at the refuge are among the 16 people indicted over the Oregon standoff. The group “prevented federal officials from performing their official duties by force, threats and intimidation,” according to the indictment.
While Bundy had initially released statements after his arrest asking those at the refuge to “stand down” and give up peacefully, he changed his tone last week. In one statement last week, he made demands regarding how Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward should block off the refuge so the lands can be given “back to the people.” In a recorded message after the indictment was unsealed, Bundy told the Oregon State Police and FBI to go home, leaving out any suggestion that the occupiers should leave.
Mike Arnold, an attorney for Ammon Bundy who took part in Fiore’s phone negotiations and was heading to the refuge with her, told The Post that he was “extremely disappointed” by the news of Cliven Bundy’s arrest.
“That is not a symbol of good faith,” he said.
But he said he did not believe it would shake the agreement to have the four occupiers surrender.
“We can take comfort in the incompetent strategic move by the federal government,” he said, because it showed that “if Cliven Bundy can be arrested peacefully — the lightning rod of much of the discourse on these issues — then the folks at the refuge should rest assured that the FBI will honor their promise to peacefully end this.”
An investor checks his mobile phone in front of an electronic board at a brokerage house in Beijing, China, January 8, 2016.
SHANGHAI China stocks swung wildly on Friday before ending the morning session up more than 2 percent, after regulators suspended a newly-minted circuit breaker mechanism to calm investor sentiment.
Hong Kong stocks also gained on signs of stabilisation in markets on the mainland.
The CSI300 index rose 2.8 percent, to 3,384.99 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 2.4 percent, to 3,199.56 points.
Late on Thursday, China’s securities regulator announced a suspension in circuit breakers after just four days operating the mechanism, saying it had not worked as anticipated in actual situations and was doing more bad than good.
Analysts said the move injected life into the market.
“The market is back to normal. Investors can buy and sell as they wish,” said Tian Weidong, analyst at Kaiyuan Securities.
“Under the circuit breaker mechanism, the market was suffocated.”
China stocks rose across the board, with the resources sector surging more than 6 percent and energy shares jumping over 4 percent.
Analysts attributed the rise in those sectors to Beijing’s efforts to reduce excess capacity, which investors believe will lead to industry consolidation and benefit major listed players.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 1.1 percent, to 20,561.25 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 1.7 percent, to 8,904.74.
(Reporting Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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