Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has ruled criminal charges are not warranted against two white Baton Rouge police officers who fatally shot a black man during an altercation in front of a convenience store in July of 2016. Landry’s office reviewed the evidence of the Alton Sterling shooting for nearly a year.
“Our investigation has concluded that officers Lake and Salamoni attempted to make a lawful arrest of Alton Sterling based on probable cause.”
Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake were the called to the scene after receiving reports of a man with a gun. Landry says the justifiable shooting of Sterling came after the 37-year-old failed to cooperate with the police and the encounter happened very quickly.
“It involved two officers who had good reason to believe that Mr. Sterling was armed with a firearm and he was continuously resisting.”
Landry says after the shooting, officers pulled a gun from Sterling’s pocket. He says toxicology reports from the autopsy also showed Sterling was under the influence of illegal drugs, which contributed to his noncompliance.
“Therefore their attempt to gain control of Mr. Sterling’s hands were well founded and reasonable under the circumstances, and under Louisiana law.”
The attorney for the Sterling family, Chris Stewart, says justice was not served.
“These guys had an attitude and a behavior and operated in a culture where they thought they could be bullies, that they could take the life of this black man.”
Stewart says a civil lawsuit has already been filed against the city and the officers and they anticipate the truth will come out
“All of America will know exactly how poor the policing was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.”
Attorney John McLindon represents Officer Salamoni and he says they are not surprised by today’s announcement from Attorney General Jeff Landry.
“I think it is very consistent with what the department of justice found, that there was no criminal activity and this was a justified shooting.”
McLindon says the evidence is clear that this was a justifiable shooting, but no one feels good about what happened.
“No one wanted Alton sterling to be shot, especially Salamoni. He was very upset that he had to use lethal force, but he did.”