Two Louisiana police officers who shot and killed Alton Sterling will not be prosecuted, state officials announced this week.
The 37-year-old black resident of Baton Rougewas shot and killed in July 2016 outside of a convenience store during an interaction with two police officers just after midnight.
Here is Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry in an announcement made earlier this week about their investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death:
“Our investigation has concluded Officers Howie Lake and Blane Salamoni attempted to make a lawful arrest of Alton Sterling based upon probable cause. During that encounter, Mr. Sterling continued to resist the officers’ efforts. The officers user verbal commands of varying degrees and tried to control Mr. Sterling with several non-lethal techniques.”
This all happened July 5. According to the state’s report, Sterling was intoxicated and on drugs and visited the convenience store with a handgun in his pocket. He may have threatened someone just outside the store who called 911, which is why they say two officers showed up.
They say Sterling resisted their arrest. He may have responded positively to a loud verbal command but then soon resumed resisting. So Officer Salamoni shot Sterling multiple times. First, three times in the chest and then another three in the back when he rolled over, apparently sitting up with his right side concealed from officers. Lake removed a loaded handgun from his right front pocket.
That’s according to the state’s report, but some eyewitness present a different:
“I believe he was murdered,” said Abdullah Muflahi, owner of the Triple S store where the incident happened. “They shot him three times already, then they shot him another three times.”
Muflahi is referring to the fact that officer Salamoni shot Sterling three times in the chest and then another three in the back. According the county medical examiner’s officer, none of those bullets exited his body. And his indicated Sterling had cocaine, methamphetamine, hydrocodone, and alcohol in his blood.
“Considering this, it is reasonable that Mr. Sterling was under the influence, and that contributed to his noncompliance,” Landry said.
According to the state report, Salamoni also held a gun to Sterling’s head, threatening him– an egregious move that simply can’t go unreckoned with. According to CNN the family attorney Chris Stewart said: “That is not the behavior that any officer should have. In our opinion, that is criminal.”
Landry said in those same remarks that their “job was not to determine whether Baton Rouge Police Department policy was followed or if certain tactics or language was more appropriate than others.”