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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Dozens of protesters in Louisiana on Tuesday chanted slogans and held up signs demanding justice for a black man fatally shot in an altercation with two police officers hours earlier, video postings on social media showed.

The shooting comes at a time of fierce national debate and heightened scrutiny over the use of excessive force by police, especially against black men, in major U.S. cities, such as New York, Baltimore and Chicago.

Posts on Twitter showed the demonstrators gathered outside the Triple S Food Mart convenience store in Baton Rouge, where, police said in a statement, the man, Alton Sterling, 37, was shot by officers soon after midnight.

“No justice, no peace,” chanted the protesters, who held up signs and occasionally blocked traffic, in images transmitted by media outlets in Baton Rouge.

Police officials were not immediately available to comment on the shooting or the protest. Reuters could not immediately trace relatives of Sterling, or a representative, to seek comment.

At about 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, two police officers responded to a disturbance at the convenience store where they encountered Sterling, the Baton Rouge Police Department said.

“Uniformed officers responded to a disturbance call from a complainant who stated that a black male who was selling music CDs and wearing a red shirt threatened him with a gun,” it added.

Sterling was shot in the ensuing altercation and died at the scene. The officers where placed on administrative leave, police said.

Several news stations on Tuesday evening aired what they said was cell phone video of the incident. It showed an officer using a stun gun on a red-shirted black man in a store parking lot and ordering him to get on the ground.

The two officers then tackled the man to the ground, and one pulled a gun from his holster to point it at the man’s chest, the video showed.

At least three gunshots then ring out on the video clip, followed by the sound of a woman screaming and crying and a man asking whether “they shot him.”

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Photo: Instagram user Live_Rich_Clothing

Sen. David Perdue

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) pulled out of his final debate against Democrat Jon Ossoff on Thursday —because he'd rather attend a Donald Trump campaign rally.

The Nov. 1 Senate debate was planned months ago, but Perdue's campaign said he could not participate as promised because he has been too busy doing his job.

"Senator Perdue will not be participating in the WSB-TV debate but will instead join the 45th president, Donald J. Trump, for a huge Get-Out-The-Vote rally in Northwest Georgia. For 8 of the last 14 days of this campaign, Senator Perdue went back to Washington to work for much needed COVID relief," his spokesperson John Burke said in a statement, referencing a failed attempt by Senate Republicans to pass Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) "skinny" $500 billion proposal.

"To make up for the lost time, Senator Perdue has over 20 campaign stops planned for the closing days of this race, and he is excited to welcome and join President Trump in Georgia before November 3rd to campaign for both of their re-election efforts," Burke added.

WSB-TV noted on Thursday that it offered Perdue's campaign other time slots to accommodate the Trump rally, but the overture was rebuffed.

Ossoff's campaign blasted Perdue's "cowardly withdrawal," saying in a statement that the move "says it all: David Perdue feels entitled to his office, and he'll do anything to avoid accountability for his blatant corruption and his total failure during this unprecedented health crisis."

The incumbent's decision to break his promise to debate came one day after a video of Jon Ossoff criticizing Perdue's anti-Obamacare record at a Wednesday debate went viral. As of Friday morning, a 72-second clip of Ossoff has been viewed more than 12 million times.

Perdue responded to that attack by making the odd claim that he repeatedly voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act — which would take insurance away from hundreds of thousands of his constituents — because he believed doing so would cover more people.

"I voted against the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, because it was taking insurance away from millions of Georgians. Today almost 18 percent of Georgians don't have any health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act," he falsely claimed.

This is not the first time Perdue has put Trump ahead of the interests of Georgians. According to FiveThirtyEight, he has voted with Trump about 95 percent of the time, including backing his right-wing Supreme Court nominees, his tax cuts for large corporations and the very wealthy, and his repeated attempts to take money from military families to pay for a massive Southern border wall.

Medical experts and data analyses have suggested Trump's rallies have been super-spreader events for the coronavirus. Trump has refused to adhere to social distancing rules or to require mask usage at the events and the mass gatherings have frequently been immediately followed by case spikes in the communities where he holds them.

One poll this week found that voters across the country said they are less likely to vote for Trump because of his "large, in-person campaign rallies where wearing a mask is not required of attendees."

The race between Ossoff and Perdue is considered a "toss-up" by election experts, and polls show it as virtual tied.

If no candidate gets a majority on Tuesday, the top two finishers will face off in a January runoff.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.