Al Sharpton is coming to Baton Rouge to meet with the family of Alton Sterling, the long-time civil rights activist revealed in a blog post Thursday for the Huffington Post. A date for his visit was not specified.
Sterling, a black man, was fatally shot by a white police officer in a Baton Rouge convenience store parking lot Tuesday after officers reportedly responded to a disturbance call.
“While responding to the rallying cry in Baton Rouge, I was shocked to see yet another incident in Minnesota, this time involving the death of Philando Castile by police — whose aftermath was also caught on video,” Sharpton said in the post.
He said such tragedies are “a national problem that requires national reform of police culture and the criminal justice system itself. Nothing short of that will turn this calamity around.”
So far, there has been a more or less exemplary – or at least more or less blameless – reaction by the black community to the Alton Sterling shooting. There is anger, but people have the right to be angry. To date there’s been no violence we can associate with the protests, and we’ve not heard of any damage to property as a result.
Sharpton’s arrival heightens the concern that will change. He came up in New York as a starter of riots, after all. And his recent history has been destructive in every situation into which he’s inserted himself.
Maybe Baton Rouge will be lucky. Maybe we’ll survive Sharpton without things getting out of control.