No State Charges Filed In Alton Sterling Shooting Death

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28 March, 2018

"After a thorough and exhaustive review of the evidence. the Louisiana Department of Justice can not proceed with a prosecution of either officer", said Jeff Landry at a morning press conference, after meeting members of Sterling's family privately.

The two police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling in July 2016 in Baton Rouge will not be charged with any crime, the Louisiana attorney general announced on Tuesday.

Landry made the announcement at a news conference after meeting with family members of Sterling. "He was murdered like an animal", Sterling's aunt, Veda Washington-Abusaleh, told reporters in video posted on social media by local media after being informed by Landry's office that no charges would be brought.

"It hurts, though, to see them get away and go on with their lives", Dunn said.

The scene on film shows the officers, who had been called to the area on reports of a man threatening people with a gun, pinning the 37-year-old black man to the ground outside a Baton Rouge convenience store where he had been selling CDs.

The shooting came amid increased scrutiny of fatal encounters between police and black men.

Two cellphone videos of the shooting quickly spread on social media, leading to protests at which almost 200 people were arrested.

During a 10-month probe, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and prosecutors reviewed images of the incident captured by body cameras, mobile phones and store surveillance cameras as well as witness accounts and other evidence.

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The officers said they did not have control of Sterling's right arm as they attempted to arrest him, and that they believed his hand was moving towards the weapon. After not complying, one officer tackled Sterling to the ground, while another pointed a gun at Sterling's head. As a convicted felon, Sterling could not legally carry a gun.

Federal authorities concluded there was not enough evidence to prove Mr Salamoni or Mr Lake wilfully deprived Mr Sterling of his civil rights, or that the officers' use of force was objectively unreasonable.

The case will be the first time under Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the department has publicly declined to prosecute officers investigated for possible wrongdoing in a high profile case. The next day Philando Castile was shot and killed in Minnesota by police officer and the aftermath was streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend.

The Justice Department last spring said that Salamoni at this point put a gun to Sterling's head.

An officer later found a gun in Sterling's pocket, but the convenience store owner said the gun was never in Sterling's hand.

A Reuters photograph captured Iesha Evans in a standoff with police.

Police prepared for another round of protests before the Justice Department announced its decision previous year, but the response was far more subdued.

Sterling, whose videotaped shooting by police in Baton Rouge last summer sparked tense protests across the city.


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