‘Protests against police brutality must continue until authorities get the message’
In the state of Minnesota, Philando Castile, 32, was stopped over a broken taillight and shot, reportedly after he moved to show his driving license. The shooting took place just days after Alton Sterling, 37, was killed by police officers in the US state of Louisiana. It's been reported that the man was threatening police officers with a gun.
[Warning: Videos are graphic and disturbing]
RT: Family members of the victim are calling for a federal investigation, adding they don't trust local police. Do you expect a transparent investigation?
Mandala Barnes: Unfortunately, in so many other cases people have gone free from heinous murders like this at the hands of one-time police officers. The evidence here is just so disturbing, and there is also a second video that just was released that shows the shooting of Alton Sterling. I couldn’t even bring myself to watch the first one, but they said the second video was even worse, because it showed even more. I don’t see how on earth these officers won’t be charged.
RT: The killing has sparked mass outrage with hundreds protesting against police violence. Do you think that protests could have an impact on authorities?
MB: It should. These protests should be expected. For so long people say: ‘Oh, you got to remain calm in these situations.’ True enough. There will be some level of civility, but the officers didn’t show any civility at all in the way they handled the late Mr. Sterling. I am not sure that the protest will have an impact. The protests don’t necessarily need to have impact on the ruling; they need to have an impact on the way policing happens in Baton Rouge and other cities across the country.
RT: With the growing number of police brutality incidents and corresponding protests, why do you think police officers aren't acting with more caution when handling such situations?
MB: The thing is they have been able to get away with so much for so long. Enforcing law and being above the law are two different things. Unfortunately, when you push the envelope so much and you see so many people get away with it, a lot of these officers feel that they can do whatever they want to do. These extrajudicial killings are being accepted, and other members of police department aren’t saying anything about it. They aren’t turning in their friends; they have a very strict no-snitching culture that exists.
RT: Do you expect a similar large scale anti-police brutality movement to what we saw after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson almost two years ago?
MB: In this community in Baton Rouge I do expect for this to continue to go on – the anti-police brutality demonstrations, because the police officers still haven’t gotten the message. Local authorities still haven’t gotten the message if they haven’t reformed the way their police training goes, if they have not reformed their patterns and practices, then there should be absolutely even more demonstrations until somebody gets the message.
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