BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s attorney general plans to meet Tuesday with relatives of Alton Sterling, who was shot and killed by a white Baton Rouge police officer to inform them whether his office will charge either of the two officers involved in the deadly struggle, according to two family lawyers.
Attorney General Jeff Landry’s spokeswoman declined comment. However, attorneys L. Chris Stewart and Brandon DeCuir, who represent Alton Sterling’s five children, said Landry is to meet Tuesday morning with Sterling’s relatives and their lawyers in Baton Rouge.
Landry will provide an “update” on his office’s investigation of Sterling’s July 2016 shooting death during a news conference later Tuesday morning, the attorney general’s office said.
The U.S. Justice Department ruled out federal criminal charges in the case nearly 11 months ago.
Officer Blane Salamoni shot and killed Sterling during a struggle outside a convenience store where the 37-year-old black man was selling homemade CDs. Officer Howie Lake II helped wrestle Sterling to the ground, but Lake didn’t fire his gun.
Two cellphone videos of the shooting quickly spread on social media, leading to protests at which nearly 200 people were arrested. The officers’ body cameras and a store surveillance camera also recorded the encounter, but those videos haven’t been released.
Federal authorities opened a civil rights investigation immediately after the shooting and released their findings in May 2017. 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 officers recovered a loaded revolver from Sterling’s pocket.
The officers encountered Sterling after responding to a report of a man with a gun outside the Triple S Food Mart. The officers told Sterling to put his hands on the hood of a car and struggled with him when he didn’t comply, the Justice Department said. Lake shocked Sterling with a stun gun before the officers wrestled him to the ground, according to federal investigators.
In June 2017, lawyers for Sterling’s five children filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Baton Rouge, its police department and former police chief, and the two officers involved. Their suit alleges the shooting fit a pattern of racist behavior and excessive force by the Baton Rouge police. It also claims poor training and inadequate police procedures led to Sterling’s death.
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