When I saw the news the Minnesota Lynx were going to wear a shirt to honor Alton Sterling I had to take a minute to let that soak in completely. This happened nine days ago, but after the protests in Baton Rouge regarding Mr. Sterling’s death and the shooting of six officers I felt it was time to address it on the blog. I’ve watched several of the videos of the officers shooting Mr. Sterling and still don’t quite understand why they jumped him, but I also don’t know what happened prior to the camera being turned on in the first place. It must have been something memorable or the person with the camera would not have filmed it in the first place. In time perhaps the truth will emerge, but here is what we do know. Someone called the police to let them know Mr. Sterling had a gun and had pulled it on others. In case you were not aware, that is a show of deadly force and can be met with deadly force. After being shot the police found a firearm in Mr. Sterling’s pocket and witnesses said they saw the firearm.

So why would I not make him a poster child? Well for starters if he had a firearm he was carrying it illegally. You see Mr. Sterling was not exactly a law abiding citizen. Why don’t we list just a couple of his offenses and you decide if you would want him on your T-Shirt. Mr. Sterling was a convicted sex offender due to “carnal knowledge of a juvenile”, he had been in prison for illegally carrying a weapon, he had battery and domestic violence arrests, he was a burglar, he failed to register as a sex offender, and he had drug possession charges. This was not a boy scout, rather a person with a long and ongoing criminal history. Try this rap sheet on for size. (Note: The gap at 2009 is because he was in prison serving a five-year sentence.)

9/09/96 – Aggravated battery
10/31/97 – 2nd degree battery
1/06/98 – Simple battery
5/04/00 – Public intimidation
9/20/00 – Carnal knowledge of a juvenile
9/04/01 – Domestic violence
5/24/05 – Burglary of an inhabited dwelling place
7/11/05 – Receiving stolen things
9/12/05 – Burglary of inhabited dwelling place
3/17/06 – Simple criminal damage to property, simple robbery, simple theft, drug possession, misrepresentation during booking, simple battery, aggravated battery
4/12/06 – Aggravated battery, simple criminal damage to property, disturbing the peace, unauthorized entry
4/04/08 – Domestic abuse battery
6/03/09 – Resisting an officer, drug possession, receiving stolen things, possession of stolen firearm, illegal carrying of a weapon with CDs, sound reproduct without consent
10/12/09 – Illegal carrying of weapon, marijuana possession
8/13/15 – Failure to register as a sex offender
4/08/16 – Failure to register as a sex offender
6/14/16 – Ecstacy and marijuana possession

Perhaps Mr. Sterling was just trying to earn a living selling some CDs outside a convenience store, but two things are fairly certain. He would be alive today had he not carried an illegal firearm and had he complied with police orders we would have never been alerted to this story because it would not have happened. My final thought is if he were in jail for his latest drug possession offenses he would not have had the opportunity to have an illegal firearm and would not have been able to brandish the weapon so the police would have never been called in the first place.

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