As the Justice Department opens a civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting of a black man named Alton Sterling, who was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, multiple people have started petitions to demand justice for Sterling.
According to a Washington Post database called "Fatal Force," Sterling was the 114th black man known to be killed by police in the first 186 days of 2016. In the past, the deaths of black men like Eric Garner and Michael Brown did not result in the indictments of the police officers who killed them, even though they were captured on video like Sterling's was, so petitions like those listed below are calling for more accountability.
Petitions are just one way to take action right now. Activists have taken to the streets in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and other parts of the country to protest Sterling's death at the hands of two white police officers. Others have organized vigils to honor Sterling and demonstrate solidarity with his family. There is also a GoFundMe page to raise money for a scholarship fund for Sterling's children.
Justice won't happen solely within the system, after all, and activists are responding to Sterling's deaths by both supporting his family and calling for systemic change. However, petitions can still have an important impact if a sufficient number of people sign them, and the four petitions listed below are a good place to start if you want to respond to this injustice.
ColorofChange/MoveOn: Justice for Alton Sterling
This petition, which is addressed to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, urges the Department of Justice to bring charges against the two police officers who killed Alton Sterling. The petition also calls for increased accountability, arguing that "these officers have no respect for Black life." You can sign this petition here or here; it currently has almost 23,000 signatures and is aiming for 25,000.
Change.org: Justice for Alton Sterling
This petition is addressed to President Obama and the Department of Justice, and it calls for action against police brutality. "We are humans with beating hearts that are bleeding from the treatment of our ancestors and relatives TODAY," writes Shanice Stewart, who started the petition. "We want Justice for Mr. Sterling, as well as the PAST AND FUTURE Mr. Sterlings!" You can access this petition here; it currently has 290 signatures.
Petition Site: Justice for Alton Sterling
This petition demands that the Department of Justice immediately "charge and arrest the two officers who murdered Alton Sterling in cold blood." The petition names the two officers and describes in detail the nature of Sterling's death. The petition currently has 4,346 supporters, and is aiming for 5,000. You can find this petition here.
We the People: File Charges Against The Officers Who Murdered Alton Sterling
This petition, which targets the Department of Justice, lives on the White House website, and only has 18 of the required 100,000 signatures so far. The petition's aim is clear: "We the People demand a swift and just investigation into this case and for charges to ultimately be filed." You can sign this petition here.
Signing a petition is an easy way you can help fight for justice in Sterling's death, and these are just a few examples of how you can help him and his family.