The officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling will not face criminal charges. According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Department of Justice has decided not to prosecute the two Louisiana cops, and is expected to announce that the investigation has been closed, within the next 24 hours.
Sterling’s family had not yet been informed of the DOJ’s decision, which is the first high-profile officer-involved shooting in which newly appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions has declined to prosecute.
“We have not heard nor received an update and are unaware of any charges that may or may not be filed,” Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the Sterling family’s attorneys told the Post. “We have not received word, nor has the family been given any notice of upcoming updates regarding this case.”
Sterling was killed while selling CDs outside of a Baton Rouge convenience store last July. The incident was caught on tape, and later shared online.
Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake claimed they approached Sterling in response to an anonymous 911 call about a man who allegedly threatened someone with a gun.
The 37-year-old father of five was shot to death during an altercation with the officers. On the footage, one of the cops can be heard stating that Sterling had a gun.
The owner of the store where the fatal shooting occurred acknowledged that Sterling had recently purchased a gun for protection (due to other CD vendors getting robbed at the location) but was not causing trouble when he was approached by officers.
Prior to the incident with Sterling, Salamoni and Lake had both been previously investigated and subsequently cleared by the police department for incidents of alleged excessive force.
Sterling’s death came a day before Philando Castille, a 32-year-old nutrition services assistant, gunned down by Minnesota Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez, after being pulled over with his girlfriend and her young daughter in the car.
Castille’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was sitting in the passenger side of the vehicle, streamed the shooting aftermath on Facebook Live.