Published: Sat, May 06, 2017
USA | By Cassandra Hanson

Justice Department will not charge cops in shooting death of Alton Sterling

Justice Department will not charge cops in shooting death of Alton Sterling

The Justice Department did not address those allegations at its press briefing. The person was not authorized to talk publicly about the decision and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. Moments later, one of the officers shot and killed Sterling, a black man who had been selling CDs outside the store, while he was on the ground.

"Given these circumstances, the evidence can not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that it did not appear to Officer Salamoni that Sterling was reaching for his pocket". The officers claim to have seen the butt of a gun in one of Sterling's trousers pockets but the video footage of the confrontation reveals Sterling being pinned down by two officers yelling "He's got a gun!"

Veda Sterling led a crowd of several dozen people in chants of "No justice, no peace!"

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"Life or death decisions were being made in split seconds", Amundson said at a news conference.

MCEVERS: What's the family saying about that?

"We just think it wasn't done properly", he said.

"That officer, his first action, his first seconds on the scene, involved un-holstering his gun and putting it to the head of Alton Sterling", said Jason Williams, an attorney for the Sterling family.

While announcing the decision not to file charge is unusual for his office, Amundson wanted to address public concerns head on.

US attorney details why no charges in Alton Sterling case

Salamoni's attorney John McLindon said he believes the state investigation won't find any wrongdoing on the part of the officers. He also told officers he was reading the comments on a post about the recent decision in the Alton Sterling case, became angry, and wrote his post. I mean federal prosecutors really aren't in the business of bringing conventional murder or manslaughter charges. Michael Slager, the former SC officer who was caught on video shooting a fleeing black man in the back, just pleaded guilty in federal court to deprivation of rights under the color of law.

The write-up also adds that bringing charges against officers in a civil rights case is incredibly hard as prosecutors must meet a high legal standard. "I grieve for Sandra and the entire Sterling family as they have been forced to relive the horror they experienced more than 10 months ago", he said. The charges were brought a year ago, during the Obama administration.

Officer Salamoni and Officer Howard Lake II were responding to a call at the Triple S convenience store that night of a man who had allegedly threatened someone with a weapon. They looked for evidence of the location of Sterling's right hand as he struggled with the officers who tried to subdue him.

The deadly confrontation was captured on witnesses' cellphones and shared widely on social media, leading to protests in Baton Rouge.

According to the owner of the mart, Abdullah Muflahi, Sterling was armed but was not holding his gun or pointing it at anyone throughout the incident. Sterling, who still had the gun, continued to move.

When stories like Jordan's and Sterling's overlap, they not only subject our hearts to a double dose of sorrow and anguish, but they also foment cynicism and distrust of the justice system.

They reviewed police body camera footage, bystanders' cell-phone videos and surveillance video from the store where the shooting occurred around 12:30 a.m. on July 5, 2016. A coroner's report on Sterling's autopsy has been sealed.

Both officers remain on administrative leave, a standard procedure. Each officer had two prior "use of force" complaints against them, and records indicate they were cleared in all cases. Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge is no different. Because of the subjective nature of that human element, police officers are able to make life-and-death decisions in a split second.

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