The 15-year-old son of a black man who was fatally shot by police outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge said Wednesday that he wanted protesters to continue demonstrating, but to do it peacefully.
Cameron Sterling's 37-year-old father, Alton Sterling, was fatally shot July 5 during a struggle with two police officers, part of which was captured on cell phone video and widely circulated on the internet, prompting public outrage.
But speaking to the media for the first time since his father's death, Cameron appealed for calm and peace among demonstrators. Alton's death, he said, "was a sacrifice to show everyone what’s been going on in life, and it should give everyone a push that everyone should be together, not against each other."
Cameron also stressed the need for people to unite across racial lines and "come together as one united family."
Sterling also made a point to address the nationwide protests — as well as the police-targeted violence — spurred by his father’s death, as well as that of Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by police the next day.
“Yes, you can protest,” he said. “But I want everyone to protest the right way. Protest and peace, not guns, not drugs, not alcohol.”
Earlier this week, Baton Rouge police said they had thwarted a plot to kill officers in the area after arresting three people who allegedly stole eight handguns from a pawn shop. A fourth suspect remains at large and two of the guns have yet to be recovered.
Cameron also referenced the Dallas police shootings in which five officers were killed.
“I feel all police shouldn’t be punished for other police’s crimes,” he said, adding that when the suspect opened fire on the officers, “nobody knew if they had kids to go home to.”
He also shed some light on the moment for which he is best known: The day after his father died, the teenager broke down in uncontrollable tears on live television during a family press conference.
“When I put my arm around her, it’s like someone else had touched me,” Cameron said of his mother on CBS News. “Like I had another hand laying on top of my hand. I looked over and nobody else was touching me.”