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ACLU, other groups sue Baton Rouge police over treatment of protesters after death of Alton Sterling

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BATON ROUGE, LA -JULY 10: Protesters shout "Hands up, don't shoot" as law enforcement gather before charging the protesters to make arrests on July 10, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Alton Sterling was shot by a police officer in front of the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge on July 5th, leading the Department of Justice to open a civil rights investigation. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

BATON ROUGE, La.–A group of local organizations are suing the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police over their treatment of demonstrators protesting the shooting death of a 37-year-old black man.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana announced the lawsuit Wednesday.

The groups allege that authorities used excessive force, carried out mass arrests and verbally and physically abused protesters.

The lawsuit describes the protests as peaceful and blames law enforcement for escalating the situation.

The shooting death last week of Alton Sterling at the hands of two white police officers sparked outrage among many in the black community.

The police have come under fire for tactics they used on protesters over the weekend. Over a three-day period, police arrested about 200 people.

The governor has defended the police, calling their response “moderate.”

Police around the country have been on edge since five officer were killed an additional seven were injured at a protest in Dallas on Friday, and officers in Baton Rouge have actually been threatened–police arrested three of four people suspected of stealing guns in “credible threat” to hurt Baton Rouge police.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has already announced it is leading the investigation into what happened.