By Jeff Palermo
Lawyers representing Alton Sterling's children have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baton Rouge, it's police department and police chief and the two white police officers who were involved in last summer's fatal shooting of the black man. Attorney Chris Stewart says a culture of racial bias among Baton Rouge cops fueled the shooting.
"We will have the evidence that will show that there's been a long practice of abuse of rights, specifically for African-Americans down here by the BRPD," Stewart said.
The U.S. Justice Department has already said they will not pursue charges against Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake the 2nd. Salamoni fired six bullets into the 37-year-old man's body after a brief physical struggle.
But Attorney Michael Adams says Sterling's children lost a father because of poor police training and racist attitudes.
"There is an environment that's prevalent in the Baton Rouge Police Department that has allowed officers to not de-escalate, to use excessive force to create and act on racial bias," Adams said.
Adams says they'll use testimony from current and former Baton Rouge Police officers to back up their case that there is a pattern of racist behavior and excessive force by the BRPD.
"We've had officers come and tell us, there are some things wrong in the Baton Rouge Police Department and we want to help you, help us get there," Adams said.
The lawsuit was filed in state court in Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge Police Department is not commenting. Adams says the suit seeks unspecified damages.
"We hope to sit down with the defendants and the city leaders and come to a resolution that would compensate these five children," Adams said.