Focus of Alton Sterling case shifts to Louisiana prosecutor

Kari Scott
May 6, 2017

The Justice Department says it is closing its ten-month investigation into two Baton Rouge, La., police officers involved in the shooting death of Alton Sterling last summer.

The decision doesn't prevent state authorities from investigating Alton Sterling's death themselves and pursuing their own criminal charges.

Corey Amundson, acting attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, said lethal-force experts determined the officers acted in a reasonable manner confronting an armed suspect.

On July 5, 2016, two white police officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, responded to a call alleging that a man was threatening someone with a pistol outside of a convenience store in Baton Rouge that Sterling routinely sold CDs in front of.

While on the ground, Sterling's arm was beneath him, near the pocket where his gun was located. The Sessions DOJ merely finished what the Obama DOJ had started in the investigation into the Sterling shooting, the NYT said.

In order to prosecute the case, the government would have to prove not only that Sterling was not reaching for his gun, but also that Salamoni did not actually believe Sterling was reaching for his gun after being warned not to move, the agency said.

A person familiar with the decision disclosed it to the AP on Tuesday.

John McLindon, Salamoni's attorney, said he can't comment until he reads an official report from the Justice Department.

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The family spokesman also said that Salamoni walked up to Sterling when he first arrived on scene, put a gun to his head and told Sterling, "I'm going to shoot you in your f***ing head". One is a Baton Rouge police captain; the other is a retired police supervisor. He's a former police officer himself, and he's been counting prosecutions over the years of officers in both federal and state courts - counting the number of times officers have been charged with manslaughter or murder.

Most may believe that the fatal shooting by white police offers of a black man named Alton Sterling, is an example of the stagnated state of our nation as it pertains to obvious inequities. By the end of those 90 seconds, he was dead and the stage was set for weeks of violent riots and the death of police officers who never met Alton Sterling.

Stewart was referring to a case that Landry's office brought against two Marksville law enforcement officers who opened fire on a vehicle after a chase, killing a 6-year-old autistic boy and critically wounding his father. I think it would be preemptive for me to say at this point in time. Michael Slager, the former SC officer who was caught on video shooting a fleeing black man in the back, just pleaded guilty in federal court to deprivation of rights under the color of law.

Both officers were placed on administrative leave, a standard procedure. The family called on state Attorney General Jeff Landry to bring charges.

Landry indicated that he would request the investigative material from the Department of Justice and make sure that it gets to the State Police for a state investigation. According to Baton Rouge police, Sterling was initially jolted with a stun gun after he didn't comply with the officers' commands to put his hands on the hood of a vehicle.

Stay on topic - This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand.

MCEVERS: As we just heard from our colleague Greg Allen, we have learned some pretty shocking new information about what happened last July. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article. Also please know that if you need to talk at any time, we have counselors available at [redacted].

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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