Drake pens emotional open letter about police victim Alton Sterling

Rapper writes of his horror at 'cycle of violence' hours before another man is shot dead by police

Drake has written an emotional open letter following the death of Alton Sterling, a father-of-five who was shot dead by police in Louisiana despite reportedly being unarmed.

Sterling, who was 37, was killed in Baton Rouge after police say they had reports of a man brandishing a gun. But footage shared on social media appears to show Sterling was no threat to officers and that he died without holding a firearm.

Drake said that Sterling’s death has left him feeling “disheartened, emotional and truly scared”. He wrote: “It’s impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago.”

After his death, the hashtag #AltonSterling began trending. Drake wrote: “No-one begins their life as a hashtag, yet the trend of being reduced to one continues.”

Drake offered his condolences to Sterling and other victims of police shootings, and “anyone who has lost someone to this cycle of violence.” He expressed his horror that “any human being could fall victim to this pattern”.

Within hours of Drake’s letter being released, 32-year-old school worker Philando Castile was shot dead by police in Louisiana. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, said Castile was pulled over by two officers for a broken tail-light on his car.

Reynolds said that, as he went to hand over his car registration paperwork, Castile told the officers that he had a firearm and a licence to carry it. She said that one of the two officers immediately shot Castile four times. She shot video of her boyfriend’s death which she has shared on Facebook.

This morning (July 7), the hashtag #PhilandoCastile was trending.