Rep. Richmond responds to decision in Alton Sterling shooting

Saul Franklin
March 28, 2018

"The seminal question presented is whether Officers Howie Lake and Blane Salamoni can be held criminally responsible for the death of Alton Sterling under applicable laws of the State of Louisiana".

Video of the following 90 seconds shows officers telling Sterling to put his hands on the hood of a auto.

But while declining to pursue charges in Sterling's death, federal authorities provided Sterling's family with new details about his death.

Veda Washington-Abusaleh, Sterling's aunt, was in tears after meeting with Landry. Landry said they attempted to make a "lawful arrest", but the 37-year-old resisted and a "struggle" ensued on the ground. "They said it was justifiable, what happened to Alton was justifiable". 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.

The Justice Department said a year ago it decided against bringing federal charges against officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, concluding that there was "insufficient" evidence to prove that they violated Sterling's civil rights.

Paul said they will review Landry's decision and provided the next steps in the case at this point.

Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said state prosecutors had followed the law in evaluating the case. I know they may not agree with this decision. The officers' body cameras and a store surveillance camera also recorded the encounter, but those videos haven't been released.

Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of one of Sterling's children, Cameron, said the officers killed Sterling "in cold blood".

That weapon, Landry later said, was a "loaded.38 caliber firearm". "Sterling was high on drugs", he said.

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In explaining why it took so long for the state to announce its decision, Landry said Tuesday that his office was "effectively sidelined" during the federal probe because it was closed off to Louisiana officials. They reported that Sterling had a gun in his pocket.

Both officers were placed on administrative leave but faced no further punishment.

Landry said the police officers "used verbal commands" and "several non-lethal techniques to gain control of Mr". The officer shot him three times in the chest, investigators discovered.

Louisiana's attorney general has ruled out criminal charges against the two white officers.

Landry said his office reviewed all of the evidence compiled by the Justice Department and also conducted its own interviews of eyewitnesses.

An attorney for a white Baton Rouge police officer who shot and killed a black man during a struggle says he expects the city's police chief to fire his client.

Baton Rouge's police department was also accused of allowing racism within the department, as officers referred to black people as "animals" and "heathens".

Protests were expected in Baton Rouge and across the U.S. following the decision. Believing Sterling was the man referenced in the 911 call, officers and Sterling scuffled which led to Sterling's tragic death.

Nearly 200 people were arrested in the protests that followed the killing.

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