State charges still possible for Baton Rouge officers


"[The Governor], with the head of State Police and state legislators from north Baton Rouge by his side, announced the day after Sterling's death that he was requesting the Justice Department lead the investigation".

Washington-Absuleh was one of several speakers at a vigil for Alton Sterling on Tuesday who talked not only about Alton Sterling's case but about what can be done to hold police accountable and build up the black community in North Baton Rouge.

Ryan Julison, a spokesman for two attorneys representing some members of Alton Sterling's family, said the family hasn't been notified of any DOJ decision.

The Justice Department probe reportedly concluded 10 months after Alton Sterling, 37, was fatally shot by officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II as a bystander captured video.

The two officers both had had two previous "use of force" complaints each, but records indicate they were cleared in all cases.

Local police and city officials have said this week that they believed a decision was imminent, however they and representatives for Sterling's family said they had not been told when an announcement from the Department of Justice was coming. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

According to the New York Times, successfully charging police officers with federal civil rights violations is incredibly hard.

- May 2: The Associated Press learns the Justice Department has decided not to bring charges against the officers.

"Alton was out there selling CDs, trying to make a living", Jordan said.

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Sterling's death came the day before the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile, a black man in Minnesota, and the same week that five officers in Dallas, Texas were gunned down in a targeted killing carried out during a protest to mark the deaths of the two men.

Following Sterling's death, the two officers were placed on paid administrative leave.

Many Baton Rouge area officials fear that the pending announcement could spark protests and unrest similar to last summer at the time of Sterling's death. "Gun!" one of the officers yells.

Tuesday's decision is the highest-profile move not to bring charges against police officers in a deadly shooting since Jeff Sessions became US Attorney General.

Authorities said they were looking for a man matching Sterling's description who had threatened someone with a gun, and that Sterling was armed and allegedly tried to reach for the weapon. Despite that, 200 people were arrested on various charges.

The ACLU released a statement today about possible protests following the decision not to prosecute the Baton Rouge officers. They said, 'Well, it will be worth the wait.' But no, it's not worth the wait.

Racial tensions in Baton Rouge were simmering when a black military veteran from Missouri ambushed and killed three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers and wounded three others before being shot dead on July 17.

- July 11: The owner of the convenience store outside which Sterling was shot sues police in state district court.