Drake has written an open letter in response to the killing of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who was shot by two white police officers following an encounter that took place outside a convenience store in Louisiana.

In his letter, posted to Instagram last night, Drake wrote that watching the footage of Sterling’s killing -- which was recorded and uploaded by a bystander -- left him “feeling disheartened, emotional, and truly scared,” and prompted him to use his platform to speak out against the police brutality that continues to claim the lives of black people across the country.

“It’s impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago. No one begins their life as a hashtag. Yet the trend of being reduced to one continues,” he wrote.

“This is real and I’m concerned, concerned for the safety of my family, my friends and any human being that could fall victim to this pattern,” he continued, before noting: “I do not know the answer. But I believe things can change for the better. Open and honest dialogue is the first step.”

Drake then offered his condolences to the Sterling family, and all others who have lost loved ones "to this cycle of violence." Read his full letter below.

Footage of Sterling's death began circulating online Tuesday night (July 5), and immediately sparked outrage across social media, as Sterling's killing marks yet another black man dying at the hands of police under dubious circumstances.

Police were reportedly responding to an anonymous caller claiming he’d been threatened by a man with a gun outside the convenience store, according to the New York Daily News. While police initially alleged that Sterling was armed, Louisiana is an open-carry state, and a witness says officers removed the gun from Sterling's pocket after they’d shot him several times while he was restrained on the ground.

“His hand was not in his pocket, nor did he have the gun in his hand,” said Abdullah Muflahi, the owner of the convenience store. “While he was laying there dying, the cop went inside his pocket to pull the gun out.”

Sterling’s killing will be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice — rather than by local law enforcement — according to NBC.

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