Published: Wed, March 28, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Wayne Curry

No Charges Will Be Filed Against Officers Who Shot Alton Sterling

No Charges Will Be Filed Against Officers Who Shot Alton Sterling

During a 90-second encounter, Salamoni told Sterling, "I'll kill you, bitch", before the officers told him to put his hands on the hood of the vehicle. One of the officers shot and killed Sterling while he was on the ground.

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

The conclusions on Tuesday come after U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana Corey Amundson, last year expressed publicly that after an "exhaustive, nearly year-long" federal investigation, they declined to pursue charges against either Salamoni or Lake II.

Veda Washington-Abusaleh, Sterling's aunt, was in tears after meeting with Landry. As with many cases before Alton, the system has prioritized absolving the perpetrators instead of vigorously seeking fairness for the deceased, their family, and the larger communities in which they live.

Le'Roi Dunn, a 40-year-old cook, gestured at the spot where Sterling was killed and said it was wrong for the officers to avoid any charges. He added: "I know the Sterling family is hurting". While everyone may not agree with the decision by the Louisiana Department of Justice, the process outlined by law was followed.

Landry did not take any questions from reporters after his statement. "They say they didn't see anything wrong".

Attorneys L. Chris Stewart and Brandon DeCuir, who represent Alton Sterling's five children, said Landry met Tuesday morning with Sterling's relatives and their lawyers in Baton Rouge. He refused, authorities have said, and began to struggle with the officers.

Police shot Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, six times during the July 2016 incident.

The decision comes almost a year after federal authorities closed their investigation into the shooting, which was captured on cellphone, surveillance and body cam video, and announced they would not prosecute officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, the officers involved.

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Since 2005, 85 non-federal law enforcement officers - a group that includes police officers, state troopers and deputy sheriffs - have been arrested for murder or manslaughter after fatally shooting someone while on-duty, according to Philip Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University in OH, who studies arrests of officers and has kept data since that year. Two cellphone videos of the shooting quickly spread on social media, leading to protests during which almost 200 people were arrested.

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

Federal authorities opened a civil rights investigation immediately after the shooting and released their findings in May 2017. A gun was later recovered from Sterling's pocket. "Sterling" - who he said was "under the influence" of "various illegal drugs". Sterling had pleaded guilty in 2011 to being a felon in possession of a firearm and illegally carrying a weapon and was arrested in May 2009 after an officer confronted him outside another store where he was selling CDs, court records show.

"If I'm Howie Lake or Blane Salamoni, I'd be nervous because it sounds like one or both will be fired", Young said.

The officers continue to struggle with Sterling and Landry said Salamoni is heard saying, "He's going for 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. Police pinned Sterling to the ground, then shot him multiple times.

Only a handful of people were at the Triple S Food Mart less than two hours after Attorney General Jeff Landry on Tuesday announced his decision in the investigation of Alton Sterling's death.

Salamoni and Lake have remained on paid administrative leave since the July 5, 2016, shooting. Last week, a Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Australian woman in 2017 was charged with murder and manslaughter.

Ieshia Evans is detained by law enforcement as she protests the shooting death of Alton Sterling near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department on July 9, 2016.

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