The Louisiana cop who shot and killed Alton Sterling has been fired, effective immediately, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul announced at a news conference Friday (March 30). Officer Blane Salamoni was let go from the department while the second officer involved in the shooting, Howie Lake II, was suspended for three days without pay, Paul said.
The decision came after an administrative investigating into the “conduct of the officers” and how it “contributed” to the fatal “outcome” of the July 2016 shooting. Paul determined that Salamoni violated “tactics training professionalism” and “organizational standards,” and that the “use of force” against Sterling was also in violation of the department’s policy.
Salamoni killed Sterling after he and Lake responded to a 911 call about the father of five selling CDs outside of a convenience store.
“These actions were not minor deviations from policy, as they contributed to the outcome to the death of another human being,” Paul said adding that separate disciplinary hearings were held for Salamoni and Lake where they discussed the evidence presented, and gave each officer an opportunity to provide an argument, witnesses, and an “explanation for his behavior and actions during the incident.”
Lake answered “all of the questions that were presented during the hearing,” but Salamoni was advised by his attorney not to answer any questions. He reportedly plans to appeal the decision.
“I take officer safety to heart, but our actions as law enforcement officers need to reflect both the legal and community standards, as well as the practices and policies of our police department,” said Paul.
He went on to ask that residents treat “our police officers with the respect that their positions deserve, and I assure you that the men and women of the Baton Rouge Police Department will reciprocate that gesture.”
“Please stop resisting, stop running. When the police officer gives you direction, listen. Please, it’s important,” he said and encouraged residents to file a complaint if they feel they were treated unjustly by Baton Rouge police.
“We want to hear about it, we want to know about it. Because this is what happens, when you do that..we get to learn if our police officers are responding to the training and the policies and procedures that we have in place,” he continued. “But we don’t know that unless you pick up the phone and tell us.”
Paul also vowed to hold one-on-one meetings with each officer in the department to explain his decision to fire Salamoni and suspend Lake, as well as to reassure them that he supports law enforcement.
Earlier in the week, Baton Rouge Attorney General Jeff Landry announced that he would not be filing criminal charges in the case, and concluded that “both officers acted in a reasonable manner.” A separate investigation by the Department of Justice returned “insufficient evidence” as to whether or not Sterling’s civil rights were violated.
In graphic body cam footage released Friday, Sterling can be heard referring to the officers as “sir” and repeatedly asking what he did to warrant an arrest.
“Don’t f*cking move! I’ll shoot your a**, b*tch!” Salamoni yells while Sterling is being held by the back of the neck and told to put his hands on the squad car before his hands are forced behind his back. Though it appears that both officers spew expletives at Sterling, Salamoni holds a gun to the 37 year old’s head and threatens to pull the trigger.
Next, he orders Lake to “taze his f*cking a**” before keeping his promise to shoot Sterling in the head, after he was tasered for a second time.
You can view footage below but please be warned that the video is extremely graphic and disturbing.
BREAKING: This is the body camera video from Baton Rouge police Officer Blane Salamoni, who shot & killed Alton Sterling. It was just aired by @WAFB – Officer Salamoni was fires today, he refused to answer all questions at his disciplinary hearing, on the advice of his attorney pic.twitter.com/ZiLR8e8ZmR
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) March 30, 2018