The two officers who killed Alton Sterling — a father of five — for selling CDs in a parking lot won’t be charged by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
According to the New York Times, the Department of Justice won’t prosecute Baton Rouge Police Department officers Blane Salamoni of 7709 Prairie Drive in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, and Howie Lake of 17516 Paladin Drive in Baton Rouge, Louisiana — the two white police officers who shot 37-year-old Sterling six times at point-blank range — while kneeling on top of him. The video of Sterling’s death went viral last year, particularly a close-up angle which shows Sterling presenting no threat to the officers, who shot him despite his subdued position. In the video, you can see Sterling struggle to move and take his last breaths after he is shot.
(TRIGGER WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO BELOW)
The video of Sterling’s death at the hands of officers Salamoni and Lake triggered sustained protests in Baton Rouge, along with a mural of Sterling’s face being painted on the side of the convenience store where he was selling CDs just prior to his death, with the consent of the store’s owner. During a press conference held by Sterling’s family, his oldest son, Cameron, broke down into loud sobs on live TV, crying out “I want daddy” as his mother spoke.
In addition to not charging officers Salamoni and Lake, Sessions’ Department of Justice has also said it intends to review previously issued federal guidelines for police departments under the authority of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2014. Lynch’s DOJ conducted multiple studies of policing in cities where killings of black Americans instigated massive protests and rioting, like Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Laquan McDonald in Chicago, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.