Monday, 16 July, 2018

No Charges Will Be Filed Against Officers Who Shot Alton Sterling

Attorney General's Office will not charge officers in death of Alton Sterling Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed
| 28 March, 2018, 01:44

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is expected to announce his decision about potential state criminal charges against two police officers in the Alton Sterling case.

Two Baton Rouge cops will not be charged with the July 2016 killing of Alton Sterling outside a convenience store that provoked outrage and nationwide protests, the state's top prosecutor said Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Louisiana's attorney general ruled out state criminal charges against Salamoni or Officer Howie Lake II.

However, attorneys L. Chris Stewart and Brandon DeCuir, who represent Alton Sterling's five children, say Landry is to meet beforehand Tuesday morning with relatives of the slain main.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced his conclusion on Tuesday, nearly 11 months after the United States Department of Justice declined to bring charges in the death of the man, Alton B. Sterling, was widely expected, in part because officers are rarely charged in connection with on-duty shootings. Just before the shooting, one of those officers yelled that Sterling had a gun. The officers told Sterling to put his hands on the hood of a vehicle and struggled with him when he didn't comply, the Justice Department said.

Landry made the announcement of no charges against the officers at a news conference after meeting with family members of Sterling. Sterling was black and both officers are white.

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. It was only after they tried nonlethal measures, Landry concludes, that the officers reverted to lethal force, drawing his weapon and firing three times, and then firing three more times; the last spray of bullets struck Sterling in the back.


"This decision was not taken lightly".

The officers' body cameras and a store surveillance camera also recorded the encounter.

The announcement makes Sterling's death the latest high-profile police shooting to end without charges for officers involved, following on the heels of federal authorities a year ago declining to prosecute either officer in the case. In a summary of its findings, the Justice Department said Salamoni pointed his gun at Sterling's head but didn't mention any verbal threats by the officer. "He was murdered like an animal", she said.

The Justice Department's decision not to pursue charges in the Sterling case marked the first time under Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the department declined to prosecute a police officer investigated for wrongdoing in a high-profile case. The caller said the man pulled out a gun.

Salamoni and Lake are on paid administrative leave. Long killed three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers and wounded three others before being shot dead.

Sterling's death in Baton Rouge was one of a number of killings of black men by white officers that helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement and raised questions about racial bias in US policing.

Sterling's death in Baton Rouge helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement and inflamed a national debate over racial bias in US policing.

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