Police won't face charges in Alton Sterling shooting case

28 March, 2018, 01:45 | Author: Sergio Cook
  • Police Officers Won't Be Charged in Death of Alton Sterling

"Both officers reported that when they were on the ground, they saw Sterling's right hand in his pocket, with his hand on a gun", the Justice Department reported in announcing it would not prosecute them.

Louisiana's top prosecutor announced Tuesday that he will not pursue charges against police officers in the death of Alton Sterling - coming almost two years after the shooting outside of a Baton Rouge convenience store was captured on graphic cellphone video.

State Attorney General Jeff Landry made the announcement Tuesday during a press conference.

"I know the Sterling family is hurting and I know they may not agree with this decision", Landry said.

Justice Department officials had previously decided against bringing federal charges against officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, claiming there was "insufficient" evidence. Just before the shooting, one of those officers yelled that Sterling had a gun. Salamoni's lawyer, John McLindon, said he anticipated the department will fire both officers for a violation of policies as a result of the shooting, but that both officers are planning to appeal such firing.

"He was murdered by two white racist police officers".

Officer Blane Salamoni shot and killed Sterling during a struggle outside a Baton Rouge convenience store where the 37-year-old black man was selling homemade CDs.

Paul said they will review Landry's decision and provided the next steps in the case at this point.

Body camera and surveillance video haven't been released, but cellphone video of the encounter went viral.

Sterling's five children also filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the officers a year ago.

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Landry said the state could not proceed with a prosecution of either officer involved based on an extensive review of evidence gathered by federal authorities as well as his office's own investigation. The suit accuses the Baton Rouge Police Department of lax training and poor procedures as factors that caused Sterling to be shot and killed.

Baton Rouge's police department was also accused of allowing racism within the department, as officers referred to black people as "animals" and "heathens".

Salamoni fatally shot Sterling during an ensuing scuffle.

Veda Washington-Abusaleh, Sterling's aunt, was in tears after meeting with Landry.

Of those officers, 41 have not been convicted, majority acquitted by juries or during a bench trial, he said.

The Sterling shooting prompted nationwide protests, including a demonstration two days later in Dallas where five law enforcement officers were fatally shot by an African-American ex-serviceman.

Moments later, the officers wrestled Sterling to the ground, at which time he was shot.

After Alton Sterling was shot by police in 2016, his death spawned protests across the nation. When he did not, a struggle ensued with Salamoni pulling out his gun and pointing it at Sterling's head and later Lake attempting to shoot Sterling with a Taser.

The two officers are on paid administrative leave, Salamoni's lawyer said.

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