Cops who fatally shot Alton Sterling in 2016 will not face charges
28 March 2018, 01:06 | Colleen Roy
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State Attorney General Jeff Landry made the announcement Tuesday during a press conference.
"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.
Landry's decision comes just less than a year after the Justice Department announced it too would not file charges against the two officers or the Baton Rouge police department.
The Attorney General launched his investigation once federal authorities cleared the officers of violating Sterling's civil rights.
Racial tensions were still simmering in Louisiana's capital when a 29-year-old black military veteran shot and killed three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers on July 17, 2016.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry says a black man fatally shot by two white police officers had illegal drugs in his system at the time of the encounter outside a convenience store.
At the close of that investigation, the justice department said it found "insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges" against either officer.
FILE - In this July 5, 2016 image made from video, Alton Sterling is restrained by two Baton Rouge police officers, one holding a gun, outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, La.
Veda Washington-Abusaleh, Sterling's aunt, was in tears after meeting. "Sterling was under the influence, and that contributed to his noncompliance", Landry said.
Two mobile phone videos of the shooting quickly spread on social media, leading to protests during which almost 200 people were arrested.
The Justice Department last spring said that Salamoni at this point put a gun to Sterling's head. When one of the officers yelled that he had a gun, another shot him six times.
The killing gripped the nation in part because two bystander videos, each less than a minute long, captured Sterling's struggle with the two officers.
"These are the facts", Landry said.
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 officers encountered Sterling after responding to a report of a man with a gun outside the Triple S Food Mart. Salamoni eventually holstered his gun, tackled Sterling to the ground and tried to control Sterling's right arm, and Lake knelt and tried to control Sterling's left arm, the state report says. One had been previously involved in the shooting of another black man two years prior that had led to administrative leave.
The heated and tragic atmosphere in Baton Rouge continued after the shooting, with three officers gunned down in an ambush less than two weeks later.
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. Their suit alleges the shooting fit a pattern of racist behaviour and excessive force by the Baton Rouge police.
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