In the wake of the police killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday, many stars have taken to social media to express their frustration, outrage and sadness over the shooting death, which was caught on camera and is being currently investigated by federal authorities.
In an open letter posted to Instagram on Wednesday, rapper Drake addressed the killing, writing, "Last night when I saw the video of Alton Sterling being killed it left me feeling disheartened, emotional, and truly scared. I woke up this morning with a strong need to same something."
"It's impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago," he continued. "No one begins their lives as a hashtag. Yet the trend of being reduced to one continues."
Drake went on to share that he's "concerned for the safety of my family, my friends and any human being that could fall victim to this pattern," and said that he believes "honest dialogue is the first step" towards change.
The shooting occurred outside a liquor store after an anonymous caller reported seeing a black man threatening someone with a fire arm outside the location, where he was selling homemade CDs, CBS News reports.
As seen in the videos captured by witnesses to the killing, Sterling, 37, was pinned to the ground by two officers, identified by Baton Rouge Police as Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II. One officer can be heard telling Sterling not to move before shouting, "Gun!"
Police shot Sterling, while he was on the ground, numerous times. According to store owner Abdullah Muflahi, Sterling was first tasered and then tackled to the ground by police, before being fatally shot.
Muflahi told CBS News that Sterling didn't appear to have a gun in his hand when police tackled him, but he says he saw police remove a gun from his pocket after the shooting.
Questlove, bandleader of The Roots, also shared his outrage, posting the graphic footage of Sterling's killing to Instagram on Wednesday.
"Look I erased 5 drafts. I didn't even wanna watch this edit of this execution. But I'm just numb. And tired. And f**king angry. And scared. And mad. And boiling. And really really really really really tired of turning our collective bruised cheek. Just. F**king. Tired. #AltonSterling," Questlove captioned his post.
Jesse Williams, who recently delivered an powerful speech about systemic racism in America during the BET Awards -- during which he specifically called out multiple police-related shootings of black men and women in recent years -- took to Twitter to comment on Sterling's death.
"1) In the interest of time, would ye noble patriots please provide a list of infractions punishable by spontaneous public execution? Thanks!" Williams wrote in a series of posts. " 2) Upon receipt of this list, we'll return to our quarters and study up, eager to enjoy freedoms of white mass murders. #LIFEHACK. 3) You chumps will NEVER provide this list... We see through you."
1) In the interest of time, would ye noble patriots please provide a list of infractions punishable by spontaneous public execution? Thanks!— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) July 6, 2016
2) Upon receipt of this list, we'll return to our quarters and study up, eager to enjoy freedoms of white mass murders. #LIFEHACK— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) July 6, 2016
3) You chumps will NEVER provide this list... We see through you.— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) July 6, 2016
Underground star Jurnee Smollett-Bell expressed the heartache felt by many who saw the video of Sterling being shot, tweeting, "If you can watch that video & not feel sorrow and pain for #AltonSterling's children, then you're not human."
If you can watch that video & not feel sorrow and pain for #AltonSterling's children, then you're not human.— jurnee smollett (@jurneesmollett) July 7, 2016
A number of other celebrities and politicians, including presumptive Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton, echoed the pain and outrage Sterling's death has elicited.
"The death of Alton Sterling is a tragedy, and my prayers are with his family." —Hillary pic.twitter.com/Yky4ZxfbLN— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 7, 2016
#altonsterling I am just heartbroken today for his family. We need change. 😔— Jenna Dewan Tatum (@jennaldewan) July 6, 2016
If ur in my replies masking your racism w "logic" or victim blaming, I'm not here for it. A black man was murdered. Again. #AltonSterling— Rashida Jones (@iamrashidajones) July 6, 2016
This is so disturbing and wrong. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of #AltonSterling— Nick Jonas (@nickjonas) July 6, 2016
I am literally sick to my stomach watching the video of the #AltonSterling takedown.— Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) July 6, 2016
1. Alton Sterling was killed because we refuse to acknowledge the fact that our police forces protect selectively and harm enormously.— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) July 6, 2016
2. The job of white Americans now is to change.— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) July 6, 2016