Louisiana won't charge police officers in Alton Sterling shooting death
Louisiana won't charge police officers in Alton Sterling shooting death
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28 March, 2018, 01:44
An officer later found a gun in Sterling's pocket, but the convenience store owner said the gun was never in Sterling's hand.
Authorities in Louisiana said Tuesday that the Baton Rouge police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling will not face criminal charges, a decision announced almost two years after his death prompted intense protests.
Attorneys for Sterling's relatives have said federal authorities told them Salamoni pointed a gun at Sterling's head and threatened to kill him before the struggle began.
The Justice Department said past year it decided against bringing federal charges against officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, concluding that there was "insufficient" evidence to prove that they violated Sterling's civil rights.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said Baton Rouge officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake had good reason to believe Sterling, 37, was armed with a gun and was continuously resisting arrest. 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.
Once again, the murderers of a Black man get to walk.
That is when the first volley of shots are fired, hitting Sterling in the chest. Expanding on the decision, Landry claimed that "countless hours" went into examining the evidence. The officers' body cameras and a store surveillance camera also recorded the encounter, but those videos have not been released.
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 previous year declining to prosecute either officer in the case.
Sterling was fatally shot outside of the Triple S Food Mart during a struggle with the officers, which touched off weeks of unrest in the city and clashes between protesters and police.
"The people of this parish have been civil in their reaction to a long and frustrating process from federal and state authorities and now of course citizens of this parish have every right to peacefully and publicly protest", she said.
Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of Sterling's son, Cameron Sterling, said on Tuesday that the ruling emphasized their point.
Federal authorities concluded there wasn't enough evidence to prove Salamoni or Lake willfully deprived Sterling of his civil rights, or that the officers' use of force was objectively unreasonable. Police pinned Sterling to the ground, then shot him multiple times.
In a familiar story line with such cases, the officers say Sterling was reaching for his gun - a contention that witnesses dispute.
After the shooting, the officers were placed on paid administrative leave.
Some security cameras captured the incident, showing police shooting Sterling at close range, and shortly after news of his death spread, protests erupted around the country.
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