No Charges In The Shooting Death of Alton Sterling
By: Stacy Omosa
Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was standing outside a convenience store selling DVDs in July 2016 when he was confronted by two white police officers, who later pinned him down and killed him. Months later, the Baton Rouge District Attorney’s office finally released their decision to not charge the two officers involved as they felt they “acted as reasonable officers under existing laws and were justified in their use of force, " Attorney General Jeff Landry said. Landry's conclusion on the case came directly from the statements made by two use of force experts that examined the video and told the Justice Department that the shooting was acceptable.
The video that circulated all over the internet recharged the Black Lives Matter protests, as it showed a very physical arrest. The two use of force experts said the officers attempted to arrest Alton Sterling lawfully, then proceeded to utilize non-lethal techniques to subdue Sterling. The two officers said that when these non-lethal techniques didn’t work, Sterling kept reaching for his gun in his pocket instead of putting his hands on the hood of the car as the Officer instructed. Then one officer used a Taser on, then wrestled him to the ground. They both claim that while on the ground Sterling’s hands were trying to reach his gun. In the video, Officer Salomoni can be heard saying, “Don't f****** move, or I'll shoot you in your f****** head." Officer Salomoni then shot Sterling 3 times in the back and 3 times in the chest.
Still, prosecutors didn’t see a case strong enough against the officers to get a conviction. Additionally, Attorney General Jeff Landry released the autopsy that reports Alton Sterling had illicit drugs in his system and was under the influence during the incident.
Despite all this, people are still outraged, especially Alton Sterling’s family lawyer Christ Stewart. He sees the threat to shoot Sterling’s head as, “not the behavior that any officer should have. In our opinion, that is criminal."
The Baton Rouge Police Department is ready to release 4 other videos of the incident and are currently holding hearings to see which disciplinary route they can take with these two officers.