Alton Sterling: No charges in 2016 fatal police shooting


A boy sits next to a makeshift memorial outside the Triple S Food Mart where Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.Image copyright
Reuters

Two white officers who shot and killed a Louisiana black man in 2016 will not face criminal charges, officials say.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said the officers acted reasonably under “existing law and were justified in their use of force”.

Video footage appearing to show the officers holding down Alton Sterling, 37, as one fired his gun, sparked days of protests in Baton Rouge.

The US Department of Justice came to a similar conclusion last May.

Federal officials said there was “insufficient evidence” to show Alton Sterling’s civil rights had been violated.

Mr Landry said on Tuesday police would still consider other disciplinary actions against the two officers, Howie Lake and Blane Salamoni, for Anton Sterling’s death.

“I know the Sterling family is hurting. I know they may not agree with this decision,” Mr Landry said at a news conference after meeting Anton Sterling’s family.

He also said new videos would be released that have yet to be made public.

“They took a human away. They took a father away,” Quintela McMillan, the mother of Anton Sterling’s oldest son, told reporters.

“When I see the video, I see the dad of my son killed in cold blood.”

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Media captionPinned down and shot in Louisiana

The two officers were responding to reports of a man threatening people with a gun outside a grocery shop on 5 July 2016.

They at first used non-lethal methods to subdue Anton Sterling, including a stun gun, police said. He was then shot dead as he tried to pull a loaded gun from his pocket, according to police.

Officer Salamoni shot him, while Officer Lake helped Officer Salamoni pin him down, but did not fire his weapon, authorities say.

The incident was caught on mobile phone footage and quickly spread online.

Toxicology and urine test results released on Tuesday showed Anton Sterling tested positive for cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids and other drugs at the time of his death, according to a report released by Mr Landry’s office.

The Louisiana prosecutor said the results could indicate that “Sterling was under the influence and that contributed to his noncompliance”.

The report also revealed Anton Sterling had been shot six times, including three times in the chest.

After the shooting, officers removed a handgun from his pocket, according to Mr Landry’s office.

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Media captionThe story behind this photo at Baton Rouge protests

Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said he planned to release footage from the officers’ body cameras as well as from store surveillance cameras, which has not been made public.

He also said he wants to complete the disciplinary process for the two men, who have been on paid leave since the 2016 shooting.

At the time of Anton Sterling’s death, a series of fatal police shootings involving African-Americans had sparked a debate about police use of force.

There were nearly 200 arrests during protests over Anton Sterling’s death, which preceded a turbulent couple of weeks in US race relations.

Tuesday’s announcement came the same day California’s attorney general said his office would investigate the fatal shooting of an unarmed man whose phone was apparently mistaken by officers for a gun.

Stephon Clark was shot dead in his grandmother’s backyard during a police chase in Sacramento earlier this month. The latest police shooting sparked local protests, blocking a motorway and shutting down a basketball arena.



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