Baton Rouge Police Chief Apologizes For Hiring Cop Who Killed Alton Sterling
A Baton Rouge police chief took an unprecedented step over the weekend in hopes to begin the healing process for a community still angered by the 2016 murder of Alton Sterling.
Police Chief Murphy Paul apologized about 15 times for the hiring of officer Blane Salamoni, the officer responsible for killing Sterling outside of a convenience store on July 5.
"Baton Rouge, we're sorry," Paul said. "The actions and the character of Salamoni do not reflect how BRPD operates as an organization. We are a department committed to healing and to safety."
During a press conference, Paul announced the settlement with Salamoni and said he would no longer work as law enforcement in Baton Rouge. Paul also reportedly criticized former department administrations for hiring Salamoni and not acting when concerns were made about his police conduct.
The apology issued by Paul was well received. Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, whose constituents reside in North Baton Rouge said the simple act of saying "I'm sorry" will begin the healing process.
"It took three years for the Alton Sterling family to hear somebody to say, 'I'm sorry.' An apology goes a long way," Marcelle said. "I was not expecting the apology, but I welcomed it; the community has embraced it."
Alton Sterling's death was one of many that took place in 2016 in which an unarmed black man or woman was shot and killed by a white police officer. Salamoni and two other cops responded to a call that a man wearing a red T-shirt was selling CDs on North Foster Drive and brandished a gun.
A confrontation ensued, which was partially caught on a cellphone camera and Salamoni shot and killed Sterling. In the wake of Sterling's death, a wave of protests in Louisiana and across the nation.
Salamoni was fired from the department.