Philadelphia community responds to fatal US police shootings

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Young people in Philadelphia are responding to the recent death of two black men by police officers just a day apart, one in Louisiana and one in Minnesota. (WPVI)

Young people in Philadelphia are responding to the recent death of two black men by police officers just a day apart, one in Louisiana and one in Minnesota.

"I am thinking it happened again and what is going to happen now to make something change and that is what is about, implementing change so this can stop," Michael Baldwin of West Philadelphia said.

"I saw it on Twitter and I was like 'again?' It hurts every time you see it because the guy looks like me. I am 6'4 and a black male and that could have been me," Stanley Umeweni of Northeast Philadelphia said.

Those we talked to say it's heartbreaking and tell Action News they are tired of reading and hearing about this type of police involved violence. Many fear being African American puts a target on their backs.

"I am fearful of them. Every time I see one, I look down and talk real low, because they could get a wrong idea of how I look," Stanley said.

A black 37-year-old man, Alton Sterling, was killed Tuesday by officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His death was caught on video.

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Two black men were shot and killed by police nearly 48 hours apart.

Late Wednesday in the St. Paul, Minnesota suburb of Falcon Heights, Philando Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor at a Montessori school, was fatally shot by a police officer. His girlfriend streamed the gruesome aftermath of the slaying live on Facebook, telling a worldwide audience that her companion had been shot "for no apparent reason" while reaching for his wallet.

The Minnesota governor stressed that not all facts are known but nonetheless called it a senseless death that was apparently fueled in some part by racism.

"Nobody should be shot and killed in Minnesota for a tail light being out of function," he said. "Would this have happened if those passengers would have been white? I don't think it would have."

Philadelphia police would not talk about either of the cases, but say it something they keep track of.

Lt. John Stanford says community policing is always a top priority.

"Everybody is watching, but you would hope this doesn't destroy the work you have been doing for months and years with people throughout various communities in the city," Stanford said.

The airwaves of WURD, Philadelphia's black talk radio, were filled with concerned listeners voicing their opinions.

Program Director Stephanie Renee says the tone of the callers was one of concern and a plea for something to change.

Many now say outside of protesting, like people did Tuesday night in Center City, they feel like their hands are tied, and all they can do is wait and hope that justice is served.

"We need to address the training of these cops. We have these cops that just immediately, hysterically gun people down people at the nearest site of danger," Steven Bradshaw of South Philadelphia.
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