No charges will be filed against two Baton Rouge police officers in the 2016 shooting death of Alton Sterling, after an investigation determined that the shooting was justified, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said Tuesday.
“We have concluded that the officers in question acted as reasonable officers under existing law and were justified in their use of force,” Landry’s written report on the investigation reads.
But his decision is not the last chapter of the case, as the police department plans to hold hearings on whether to discipline the officers, and says it intends release four videos that have yet to be made public.
Landry’s announcement in Baton Rouge — coming 10 months after federal prosecutors determined they wouldn’t file civil rights charges against the officers — was made moments after he told Sterling’s relatives of the decision.
Members of Sterling’s family were visibly upset. Sterling’s aunt Veda Washington wiped tears from her face as she left his office.
“They’re not going to bring charges on anybody. Why would they do that? This is white America,” Washington said.
Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was shot and killed by one of two white police officers who confronted him outside a convenience store in July 2016. Cell phone video showed Sterling pinned to the ground by the officers before he was shot; police said Sterling was shot because he was reaching for a gun.
Outrage over Sterling’s death led to renewed Black Lives Matter protests across the nation.
Landry said his conclusion drew on the federal investigation — including two use-of-force experts who told the Justice Department that the shooting was reasonable — as well as his department’s own interviews of eyewitnesses.
The officers, he said, tried to make a lawful arrest, tried Tasering and other nonlethal techniques to subdue Sterling when he didn’t comply with commands, and made “well-founded and reasonable” attempts to control Sterling’s hands until the moment one officer claims he saw Sterling try to reach a gun.
For more details: cnn.com