The Baton Rouge officers who shot and killed Alton Sterling almost two years ago will not be indicted. There have been a plethora of deaths of blacks caused by white enforcement officials that have gone completely unchecked. Justice has not been served. Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise as police officers involved in violent encounters with black civilians are rarely held accountable.
Louisiana attorney general Jeff Laundry publicized this during a news conference on Tuesday. “As with every criminal case, we must analyze the evidence, the law and the facts and then draw a conclusion, but we are always mindful of the human element.” “I know the Sterling family is hurting”. “I know that they do not agree with this decision.” Said, Landry, as reported by NY Times.
After Landry’s statement, family members of Sterling and their attorneys spoke out. One of the lawyers, L. Chris Stewart said, “It takes courage to have political office, it takes courage to be a prosecutor, it takes courage to fight for justice,” “And we didn’t see that in this situation.
The incident occurred on July 5, 2016, when officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II were dispatched to the Triple S Food Mart. They were responding to a call of a black man flaunting a gun and threatening another individual. When the policemen arrived, there was a confrontation that left Sterling dead. Officers Salamoni and Lake have since been suspended with pay but nothing more.
A cellphone video of the incident shows the officers holding Sterling down. Investigators documented that Sterling was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. One of the officers draws their weapon and gunshots are heard. The video pans off to a different angle and more shots are fired. It is determined that Salamoni fired all of the shots.
Reports of advanced videos and audio clips shown to the Sterling family reveal that there was more aggression shown by Salamoni then of Sterling, there were reports of the officer stating “I’ll kill you, bitch,” or something along those lines.
A video of the encounter provided by the owner of the mart showed one of the officer’s removing an unidentifiable object from Sterling’s pockets. Witnesses would later say that they saw a gun on the ground next to Sterling. Sterling’s relatives have commented that they weren’t aware that Sterling owned a firearm.
As a result of Sterling’s death, huge protests have been formed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital. There have been additional demonstrations although they’ve been less publicized.
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome has expressed her wished of wanting the officers to be punished and on Tuesday reminded the citizens of Baton Rouge that they could protest – as long as it remained peaceful. “We will now act swiftly and accordingly. I’m confident the chief will act expeditiously and fairly in his own investigation,” she said.
On March 18, Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man was shot 20 times in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento, California. Police received a call of vandalism in his neighborhood. While standing with his iPhone in hand, the officers appeared in the dark, briefly shouted at Clark to show his hands then proceeded to let off a round of bullets.