Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has decided not to file charges against two Baton Rouge police officers involved in the July 2016 shooting death of Alton Sterling.
Sterling’s family shared the news Tuesday (Mar. 27) after meeting with Landry before the decision was made public, The Advocate reports. The actions of officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake III were found to be “well-founded and reasonable” the night of July 5, 2016 when the officers responded to a call about a man threatening people with a gun while selling CD’s outside of a gas station. The U.S. Department of Justice closed their case against the officers in May 2017.
In nearly 90 seconds of being in front of Sterling, the officers used lethal force on the 37-year-old with Salamoni shooting Sterling in the chest and back. Sterling was found with a loaded gun in his pocket at the time of his death.
“This decision was not taken lightly. We came to this conclusion after countless hours of reviewing the evidence,” Landry said. The evidence was several dash and body cams and video footage from bystanders. The officers said they were in fear for their lives since Sterling appeared to reach for his gun, but had no footage to back their claim.
Now that the officers don’t have criminal charges looming, their careers now stand in the hands of newly appointed Chief Murphy Paul. Local community activists in Baton Rouge have called for their terminations but no decision could be made during the investigation.
Abdullah Muflahi, the owner of the Triple S Food Mart where Sterling died, filed a lawsuit against the police department for holding him custody without reason and illegally confiscating his security system without a warrant.