Alton Sterling’s family continues their fight for justice in the shooting death of the patriarch. According to the Associated Press, Sterling’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Baton Rouge, La., and its police department, including officers Howie Lake II and Blane Salamoni who were responsible for Sterling’s death.
Published within the AP’s report, the suit states the death of Sterling “fit a pattern of racist behavior and excessive force by its police force.” The news follows the Justice Department’s May ruling that decided to not press charges against the officers.
On July 5, 2016, officers Lake and Salamoni responded to a call that an unidentified man was waving a gun and threatening the anonymous 911 caller. Upon arrival, the officers apprehended Sterling with a taser and restrained the 37-year-old on the ground by pinning their knee into his chest. The officers believed that Sterling possessed a firearm and he allegedly tried to reach for it while he was being apprehended. Salamoni proceeded to strike Sterling with six fatal shots.
This news follows the acquittal of Officer Jeronimo Yanez who killed Philando Castile on July 6, 2016. His mother, Valarie Castile, shared her reaction to the court’s ruling, stating, “The system continues to fail black people, and it will continue to fail you.”