Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said on Tuesday that following an investigation the state could not proceed with a prosecution of police officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake.
A pair of white police officers in Baton Rouge, La., will not be prosecuted by the state authorities in a fatal shooting of a black man there nearly two years ago.
Attorney General Jeff Landry made the announcement Tuesday morning after meeting with Sterling's family.
The conclusions on Tuesday come after U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana Corey Amundson, last year expressed publicly that after an "exhaustive, nearly year-long" federal investigation, they declined to pursue charges against either Salamoni or Lake II. Before the fatal shooting, one of the officers can be heard yelling, "He's got a gun!" The officers told Sterling to put his hands on the hood of a vehicle and struggled with him when he didn't comply, the Justice Department said.
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Landry said drugs were found in Sterling's system and that could have contributed to Sterling's "noncompliance" with commands from officers. Critics expressed frustration at another police-involved shooting in which a Black man was executed without so much as a trial, calling it just another example of rampant police brutality in the United States. Salamoni them fired three shots into Sterling's chest.
Police shot Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, six times during the July 2016 incident. It was only after they tried nonlethal measures, Landry concludes, that the officers reverted to lethal force, drawing his weapon and firing three times, and then firing three more times; the last spray of bullets struck Sterling in the back. Videos recorded by nearby surveillance cameras and by vehicle dashboards and police body cameras have not been released. It also claims poor training and inadequate police procedures led to Sterling's death.
Landry said his office reviewed all of the evidence compiled by the Justice Department and also conducted its own interviews of eyewitnesses.
"This is white America", Sterling's aunt, Veda Washington, said.
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Sterling was fatally shot outside of the Triple S Food Mart during a struggle with the officers, which touched off weeks of unrest in the city and clashes between protesters and police. According to the attorney general's report, Sterling refused orders to put his hands on the hood of a vehicle, and officers wrestled him to the ground.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul says he intends to release body camera and surveillance video of the fatal shooting of a black man after he concludes the disciplinary process for the two white officers involved.
Ieshia Evans is detained by law enforcement as she protests the shooting death of Alton Sterling near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department on July 9, 2016. Officer Blane Salamoni shot and killed Sterling during the struggle.
Attorneys for Sterling's relatives have said federal authorities told them Salamoni pointed a gun at Sterling's head and threatened to kill him before the struggle began.
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After the shooting, the officers were placed on paid administrative leave.