Thursday, 26 April, 2018

No charges for La. officers in Alton Sterling's shooting death

A Decision On Police Indictments Has Taken A Frustratingly Long Time In Alton Sterling's Case Police Officers Who Fatally Shot Alton Sterling Won't Be Charged
Olivia Ford | 28 March, 2018, 01:45

The two Baton Rouge police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling will not face criminal charges, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced Tuesday.

An initial investigation cleared Officers Blane Salamoni (the shooter) and Howie Lake II of any Civil Rights Charges, with feds going so far as to claim the officers responses were "reasonable".

Cellphone videos of the shooting on social media sparked protests that led to almost 200 arrests in Baton Rouge.

"I know the Sterling family is hurting and I know they may not agree with this decision", Landry said. Relatives and their lawyers angrily denounced the decision. Until this is done, many young black men and women will be forced to fear any non-threatening action they take could be met with certain death.

Landry said today that Sterling "clearly matched a description" placed provided by a 911 caller, which described a man selling compact discs in front of the food mart. "We came to this conclusion after countless hours of reviewing the evidence".

At that point, Landry said, Salamoni allegedly drew his weapon again and trained it on Sterling before warning him, "If you move, I swear to god".

Landry did not take any questions from reporters after his statement.

Body camera and surveillance video haven't been released, but cellphone video of the encounter went viral. He said the department hopes to conclude that process by Friday.

US Representative Cedric Richmond said the incident was "deeply disturbing" and called for an investigation.

"Every use of force expert that has looked at this ... has concluded that it was a justified shooting", McLindon said. "The decision has already been made".

Attorneys for Sterling's relatives have said federal authorities told them that Salamoni pointed a gun at Sterling's head and threatened to kill him before the struggle began. 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.

Federal authorities opened a civil rights investigation immediately after the shooting and released their findings in May 2017.

During a news conference also on Tuesday, Quinyetta McMillon, mother of of one of Sterling's children, reportedly said that the way the officers killed the 37-year-old was "in cold blood". As a convicted felon, Sterling could not legally carry a gun. Officer Blane Salamoni shot and killed Sterling during the struggle. Apparently, it was enough that Sterling failed to comply with the officer's orders, even though there was no visible proof that Sterling even reached for a gun in the first place. In the footage, officers can be seen violently tackling him.

The Tuesday revelation came as Landry announced there would be no criminal charges against the two officers in the Alton Sterling's 2016 death. Last week, a Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Australian woman in 2017 was charged with murder and manslaughter.

Some fatal shootings still prompt widespread media attention, including the death earlier this month of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man shot and killed by Sacramento police officers while in his grandmother's backyard. The same week, five police officers were killed in Dallas during a protest against police shootings.

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 USA policing.

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