‘It’s like going back to the first day’: Alton Sterling’s family reacts to news that officers won’t be charged

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BATON ROUGE — The aunt who raised Alton Sterling says learning that the two officers who shot and killed her nephew last summer will not be charged is “like going back to the first day.”

Sandra Sterling told WBRZ that the family has not been notified by the authorities about the decision not to prosecute Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, the two Baton Rouge officers who shot and killed Sterling outside a convenience store.

“It hurts so bad. I was trying to prepare myself for this. It’s a horrible pain. It’s like going back to the first day,” she said.

The Washington Post first reported today that the U.S. Justice Department will not file federal charges against the officers who shot and killed Alton Sterling. A formal announcement is expected tomorrow.

Alton Sterling, 37, was killed by police outside the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge.

Sterling was shot and killed outside a Baton Rouge convenience store just after midnight July 5. Police said they were called to the store in response to a man threatening someone with a gun. Sterling was known as the “CD man” and sold CDs outside of the same convenience store for years.

Police said Sterling resisted arrest and didn’t respond when officers used a Taser on him, but video that surfaced after the shooting shows Sterling was pinned down by the officers. Sterling was shot six times in the chest and back.

His death sparked protests in Baton Rouge and nationwide, with about 90 protesters arrested in Baton Rouge.

The ACLU released a statement today about possible protests following the decision not to prosecute the Baton Rouge officers.

ACLU Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman said law enforcement entered  into a formal agreement in November 2016, months after the protests, “guaranteeing their commitment to the First Amendment rights of everyone, a commitment to use only the level of force objectively reasonable to bring an incident under control and only arrest those who they have reasonable belief to have violated the law, and commit to de-escalation.”

 “As the community continues to mourn the killing of Alton Sterling, we encourage law enforcement to remember the commitments set out in this agreement,” Esman said. “The Baton Rouge community needs healing, and honoring the rights of everyone in the community will aid in that process.”


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