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Baton Rouge police 'acted properly' in man's death

Baton Rouge police 'acted properly' in man's death

Video footage of the killing showed the officers, who are white, holding Sterling, who is black, on the ground, where he was shot multiple times.

Sterling was shot to death July 5, 2016 in a scuffle with two officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, outside a convenience store where he had been selling CDs.

"It is important for the public to know that this matter will be handled by the most professional and proficient law enforcement use of force team in Louisiana", Landry said, noting that State Police often do investigations of shootings involving police officers.

According to the Justice Department, the officers said they saw the butt of a gun in one of Sterling's trousers pockets and saw him try to reach for it before he was shot. "Sterling was 'going for a gun, '" acting USA attorney Corey Amundson said at the press conference.

"Experts concluded unanimously that the officers actions were not unreasonable because of the quickly unfolding and risky circumstances, and therefore met constitutional standards".

Federal investigators also considered whether the second series of shots Salamoni fired was a prosecutable Fourth Amendment violation. The officers ordered him to get down, and Officer Lake attempted unsuccessfully to use his Taser on Sterling again.

Baton Rouge police have beefed up security around the city and are expected to be on high alert in light of the DOJ decision.

Although the investigation is over on a federal level it is being turned over to Louisiana State Police. But family attorney Chris Stewart said he thinks the state will find reason to charge the officers. "It means there was not sufficient evidence, according to what we heard from the Department of Justice, to charge the officers with violating the civil rights of Mr. Sterling".

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The DOJ announcement also says that after the officer - reponding to a 911 call about a man with a gun - confronted Sterling with his service pistol, the suspect put his hands on the vehicle hood. More specifically, from the start of the officers' physical struggle with Sterling on the ground, through the firing of the final shot, the encounter lasted less than 30 seconds. "We're still suffering like it happened yesterday", Veda Washington-Abusaleh, Alton Sterling's aunt, says of her nephew's death. Police said at the time of the shooting that the officers' body cameras had fallen off before the shooting.

After a lengthy review by the US Department of Justice, the federal agency announced they will not file charges against the two officers involved.

Substantiating federal civil rights charges is a hard endeavor, requiring prosecutors to produce evidence that demonstrates an officer's intent at the time of an incident. "The state police will assist as requested", Edwards said when asked about the state police's involvement in the state investigation.

Cameron Sterling, left, son of Alton Sterling, hugs family members after they spoke to reporters following a meeting with the U.S. Justice Department at federal court in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, May 3, 2017. "Officer Salamoni then fired three shots into Sterling's chest".

Several civic and religious leaders have spoken out about the Justice Department's decision regarding Sterling's shooting, urging local residents to remain peaceful in their expressions of discontent and to work toward healing the wounded community.

Video footage of the struggle between the two white officers and the black man triggered days of protests and almost 200 arrests in Baton Rouge. Sterling's death was one of a number of killings of black men by white officers that helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement.

The shooting was reported outside the Triple S Food Mart at Fairfields Avenue and North Foster Drive.

"Sterling was actually going for a gun when he made that statement and he simply chose to shoot", Amundson said.

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