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Demands grow for firing of BRPD cops who killed Alton Sterling

30th May 2017   ·   0 Comments

In the wake of the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to not file federal charges against the Baton Rouge police officers who killed 37-year-old Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016 outside a convenience store, the victim’s family, lawyers and others are demanding that the officers be terminated.

A letter was sent to Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and BRPD Police Chief Carl Dabadie demanding precisely that 10 months after the shooting, which was captured on videotape and led to a series of protests in cities across the U.S.

WWL News reported that the letter specifically cites information provided by the Department of Justice that said Officer Blane Salamoni walked up to Sterling before the fatal confrontation and threatened him using obscenities.

“The Sterling family continues to stand by their position that not all officers in the BRPD conduct themselves in the same manner as Officer Salamoni; but by keeping him on the force it continues a very dark cloud over the city and the department,” the letter reads.

The second officer involved in Sterling’s death is Howie Lake I.

When asked about calling for the resignation of the officers, Broome told The Advocate that she and Chief Dabadie are discussing the community’s concerns.

While DOJ officials declined to prosecute the officers, state Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office is investigating the case.

Attorneys for Sterling’s children noted that the AG’s investigation is not to determine if the officers should remain on the force.

Alton Sterling, a father of five, was killed by police while selling mixtape CDs outside the Triple S store in South Baton Rouge last summer.

Officers were reportedly dispatched to the scene after someone called authorities and accused Sterling of pulling a gun on them.

While the DOJ investigation did not lead to federal charges as the family and other seeking justice had hoped, it did shed new light on the case. As a result of the probe, lawyers for the family learned about police pointing a gun at Sterling’s head and shouting obscenities within seconds of arriving at the scene.

The Sterling shooting, along with an officer-involved shooting of Philando Castille near Minneapolis, Minn. just days later, led to nationwide protests that ended in the fatal shooting of five law enforcement officers in Dallas, Texas and three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, La.

The decision about whether to prosecute the two officers became the responsibility of La. Attorney General Jeff Landry, a former cop who hails from a family of law enforcement officers, after East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore recused himself from the case because of a connection to one of the officers involved in the fatal shooting.

This article originally published in the May 29, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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