'No charges' for Baton Rouge police who shot Alton Sterling

03 May, 2017, 21:27 | Author: Michele Stevens
  • AP Sources: Justice will not charge Baton Rouge officers

News of the decision leaked to U.S. media on Tuesday before the city mayor or the Sterling family had been told.

The family of a black man shot dead by two white police officers in Louisiana have reacted angrily to news they will not face charges raising the prospect of more protests.

The shootings caused so much outrage that a lone gunman killed three officers and wounded three others near a Baton Rouge police station and it is feared the DoJ's decision not bring charges could cause similar outbreaks of violence.

Baton Rouge officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake will not be charged in connection to the shooting death of Alton Sterling, the Washington Post reported. The convenience store owner said officers twice deployed the devices before the shooting. The officers had received an anonymous tip that Sterling had threatened the caller with a gun.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' office confirmed that an official announcement will come Wednesday from the U.S. Department of Justice in the Alton Sterling case.

Baton Rouge's police chief has said Mr Sterling was armed but the shop's owner said he was not holding a gun during the shooting and he saw officers remove one from his pocket afterwards. The newspaper further said that officials in Baton Rouge were ramping up services Tuesday afternoon in preparation for any possible public reaction.

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Civil rights groups, which have criticized changes in the Justice Department's approach to policing under Sessions, had closely watched for the announcement on the investigation into Sterling's death. "We can only hope that the Department of Justice will inform the family beforehand so it does not have to hear the news in the newspaper or on TV".

The Sterling case marks the first time the Justice Department has publicly declined to prosecute officers who were investigated for wrongdoing since Attorney General Jeff Sessions was appointed. Sterling was known as the "CD man" and sold CDs outside of the same convenience store for years. They were placed on administrative leave after the shooting. They are current and former police officers in Baton Rouge.

The two officers had Sterling pinned on his back when gunfire erupted, moments after someone yelled, "He's got a gun!"

The next day, a Minnesota police officer fatally shot a black motorist, Philando Castile, whose girlfriend broadcast the aftermath live on social media. The focus now shifts to the state and whether Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry will pursue criminal charges against the officers. Later, dozens of protesters are arrested after police say they headed for an interstate on-ramp.

The Department of Justice is expected to hold a news conference from the Federal building in downtown Baton Rouge. While many say they were not surprised by the outcome, they are disappointed in the way the information was delivered.

Sterling was shot by police as he was on the ground after being tackled by police officers outside the store, where he was selling CDs.

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