Baton Rouge officers will not be charged in Alton Sterling's death

Cheryl Sanders
May 3, 2017

The U.S. Justice Department will not file charges against two police officers involved in the controversial shooting death of Alton Sterling in Louisiana previous year, according to sources.

The former officer, Michael Slager, 35, pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges on Tuesday, five months after a jury emerged deadlocked on state murder charges against him. Even in the Obama administration, federal prosecutors declined to bring such charges in high-profile incidents.

Alton Sterling's 11-year-old son, Naquincy Pierson, was in the crowd at the Triple S Food Mart Tuesday night, accompanied by his mentor, Darin Fontenette.

The two officers involved in the case have been identified as Blane Salamoni, a four-year veteran of the force, and Howie Lake II, a three-year veteran.

Bystanders' video from the scene appeared to show two white officers on top of Mr Sterling arresting him. The convenience store owner said officers twice deployed the devices before the shooting.

Outrage over the shooting last summer was stoked by cellphone video footage, captured by bystanders.

A police report said Mr Sterling was initially jolted with a stun gun after he did not obey the officers' commands to put his hands on the bonnet of a auto. The two have been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.

After the gunshots, the camera captures Sterling with a large bloodstain on his chest as an officer lying on the pavement aims his weapon.

Lawyers for the Sterling family said they had not been informed of a decision. The report also says Sterling was reaching for a gun in one of his pockets before he was shot.

"The Department of Justice's failure to communicate with the community has created angst and nervousness, and I fear carries the potential for increased tension between the community and law enforcement", Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, whose congressional district includes a portion of Baton Rouge, wrote to Sessions on Friday, according to the Post.

Louisiana is an open-carry state, meaning citizens may carry a gun in plain sight - though felons and those convicted of other crimes are excluded from the privilege. "When there is a decision, the family will be notified first and then the DOJ will give a subsequent press conference". Sterling was selling CDs at the time, outside of the store.

Authorities in such cases must meet a hard standard of proof, a challenge that has complicated prosecutions in past police shootings.

- July 8: Protests over Sterling's and Castile's deaths are held nationwide.

Daily News front shows Sterling after he was shot by a cop in Louisiana.


Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. said the city is better prepared for possible protests following the decision by DOJ.

"It's been an ongoing thing, because we knew this was coming". "I think it would put us all in a better position if we did know", Broome said in an interview on WBRP-FM Talk107.3.

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