Decision on Sterling charges could be announced tomorrow
28 March 2018, 01:05 | Katrina Lee
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Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said on Tuesday that following an investigation the state could not proceed with a prosecution of police officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake.
Louisiana has declined to press charges against the pair of white police officers involved in the 2016 shooting death of Alton Sterling.
Mr Landry made the announcement after meeting with family members of Mr Sterling.
State investigators received the case in May 2017 after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would not be pursuing civil rights charges against the officers, reports CBS affiliate WAFB. Officer Howie Lake II helped wrestle Sterling to the ground, but didn't fire his gun.
Landry said the review found that the officers followed proper protocol in attempting to make their arrest of Sterling in the early hours of July 5, 2016.
Upon review of the evidence, Landry said Salamoni and Lake reacted understandably considering the circumstances the officers were under at the time of the shooting. A video of the shooting shows Sterling lying on his back with two police officers on top of him. Sterling's aunt Veda Washington wiped tears as she left his office.
Speaking at a news conference, Landry said it was "reasonable" to conclude Sterling was under the influence of drugs during the struggle with the officers "and that contributed to his non-compliance".
A video of Sterling's shooting went viral after his death, showing an officer tackling him to the ground before another officer shot him, inciting social media backlash and protests across the country.
"The Louisiana Department of Justice can not proceed with a prosecution of either Officer Lake or Officer Salamoni". Police pinned Sterling to the ground, then shot him multiple times.
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Paul said audio and visual evidence, including footage from body-worn cameras on the night of the shooting, will be released to the public.
The killing gripped the nation in part because two bystander videos, each less than a minute long, captured Sterling's struggle with the two officers.
The officers were responding to a report that Sterling was selling CDs and that he allegedly threatened a man with a gun.
"That is not the behavior that any officer should have", Stewart said.
The shooting came amid increased scrutiny of fatal encounters between police and black men.
Federal authorities said their ten-month investigation failed to uncover evidence that the officers "willfully" deprived Sterling of his civil rights. Sterling, was shot and killed outside the store where he was selling CDs by Baton Rouge police.
The heated and tragic atmosphere in Baton Rouge continued after the shooting, with three officers gunned down in an ambush less than two weeks later.
Sterling, whose videotaped shooting by police in Baton Rouge last summer sparked tense protests across the city.
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