Cops Won't Face Charges in Baton Rouge Shooting

State attorney general announces decision in Alton Sterling case
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2018 11:06 AM CDT
In this file image made from video, taken July 5, 2016, Alton Sterling is held by two Baton Rouge police officers.   (Arthur Reed via AP, File)

(Newser) – Louisiana's attorney general has ruled out criminal charges against two white Baton Rouge police officers in the fatal shooting of a black man whose death fueled widespread protests. Attorney General Jeff Landry's announcement Tuesday comes nearly 11 months after the Justice Department ruled out federal criminal charges in Alton Sterling's July 2016 death, per the AP. Officer Blane Salamoni shot and killed Sterling during a struggle outside a convenience store where the 37-year-old black man was selling homemade CDs. Officer Howie Lake II helped wrestle Sterling to the ground, but Lake didn't fire his gun.

"They said they didn't find anything," said Veda Washington-Abusaleh, Sterling's aunt, who was in tears after meeting with Landry. "They said it was justifiable, what happened to Alton was justifiable." Two cellphone videos of the shooting quickly spread on social media, leading to nightly protests during which nearly 200 people were arrested. The officers' body cameras and a store surveillance camera also recorded the encounter. Federal authorities opened a civil rights investigation immediately after the shooting and released their findings in May 2017. They said Salamoni yelled that Sterling was reaching for a gun in his pocket before shooting him three times, and then fired three more shots into Sterling's back when he began to sit up and move.

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