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Alton Sterling's shooting death boils over on Twitter

Technically Incorrect: A video of a black man being shot dead by police emerges. Twitter, as usual, becomes an epicenter for reactions ranging from the enraged to the numb.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


A scene from one of the videos.

CBS News screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was shot dead by police on Tuesday morning.

Sterling was selling CDs outside a convenience store. Police had arrived because an anonymous caller told them there was a man outside the store behaving menacingly and waving a gun around.

Smartphone video, first posted by the Advocate, appears to show Sterling being pinned down by two police officers. He does not appear to be holding a gun.

Suddenly shots are heard and Sterling is dead.

It's unclear why he was shot. It's unclear whether he was armed. But many looked at the the video -- and a second one posted Wednesday -- and reacted. (The Department of Justice is starting an investigation, led by its civil rights division.)

This isn't the first time video has emerged of a black man being shot by police in questionable circumstances. Perhaps the most well-known in recent times was the shooting in the back of Walter Scott last year in Charleston, South Carolina.

As the aftermath of this latest shooting left many stunned, the Twitter hashtag #AltonSterling collected the thoughts and feelings of those who had seen the videos and couldn't believe them -- or, in some cases, believed them only too well.

The hashtag is a constant stream of information and emotion.

It's there that you can learn that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick described the incident to Sports Illustrated as "what lynchings look like in 2016."

It's there that you can read about former NBA player Glen "Big Baby" Davis saying that Sterling was "not a guy who would use violence."

It's there that you see a plea for Silicon Valley to do for black people what it's done for the LGBT community.

It's there that you can find a link to the "science of why cops shoot black men."

It's there that you learn that while there are now two phone videos, both the police officers' bodycams allegedly fell off but continued to record.

It's there that you'll see how some media chose to use pictures of Sterling happy and how some plumped for something very different.

It's there that you can learn that the police are appealing for protesters to be peaceful.

All these elements crowd around one hashtag.

You keep scrolling down and see a chronicle of anger, frustration and despair.

You see reactions from local people who have had enough of what they see as a gross injustice being perpetrated against the black community across America.

The posts multiply by the hour. Most continue to be screams of despair.

Some do attempt to find equilibrium. For example, this from attorney Christine Pelosi: "Again, one can support police officers and support police reforms with equal conviction. Life isn't binary."

It just seems like it is far too often these days.

As you scroll down and down and down, you get the feeling that a lot of people believe not only that something wasn't right here, but that something must be done.

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