Police chief says decision to remove Blake Salamoni over 2016 shooting is based on the facts of the case not feelings or politics
The police officer who shot and killed Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge in 2016 has been fired, the the city police chief Murphy Paul announced late Friday.
Paul used to say policeman, Blake Salamoni, who shot Sterling six times after a brief showdown outside a convenience store, diverged from department policy procedure and refused to answer any questions from examiners about the incident.
” My decision was not based on politics ,” Paul said during a news conference.” It was not based on emotions. It was based on the facts of the case .”
The shooting death provoked outrage and enormous protests both in Baton Rouge and around the US in the summer of 2016.
Howie Lake, another police officer who was also involved in the incident, who did not discharge his weapon, was suspended for three days. Both officers have been on paid leave for more than 20 months.
The decision goes several days after the Louisiana attorney general, Jeff Landry, announced that its term of office would not be pursuing criminal charges against either of the officers. The federal government also declined to pursue civil charges in a decision announced last summer. With the internal discipline review now complete, all that remains in the case is a civil suit filed against the city by Sterling’s children.
Police also released body camera footage and other videos of the officers’ deadly encounter with Sterling.
In the body camera footage, Salamonican be heard wailing profanities at Sterling and at one point threatens to shoot him in the head as Sterling asks what he did.
Salamoni shot Sterling six times during a struggle outside the Triple S Food Mart, where the 37 -year-old black human was selling homemade Cds. Lake helped wrestle Sterling to the ground but didn’t fire his weapon.
The policemen recovered a loaded revolver from Sterling’s pocket. Although Sterling never had the gun in his hands, the officers saidit caused them to fearfor their lives, believing thatSterling was reaching for it with his free arm.
” Our police officer are held to a higher standard. Fear cannot be a driver for an officer’s response to every incident ,” Paul said Friday.” Unreasonable anxiety within an officer is dangerous .”
L Chris Stewart, a lawyer representing two of Sterling’s five children, said the freshly released videos show officer Salamoni attacked Sterling without provocation” like a wild dog “.
” The most obvious thing that stands out is Alton wasn’t opposing back at all ,” Stewart said.” He’s trying to defuse it the whole time .”
In June 2017, Baton Rouge’s mayor Sharon Weston Broome called on Paul’s predecessor, Carl Dabadie Jr, to fire Salamoni. Dabadie refused, saying it would be improper and premature because the shooting remained under investigation.
Broome reiterated her desire that Salamoni be fired in a joint press conference with Paul on Tuesday.
Salamoni’s attorney, John McLindon, had said Tuesday that he expected the policeman to be fired. He called it” grossly unfair” that a disciplinary hearing was schemed less than a week after the end of the criminal investigations. Lake’s lawyer, Kyle Kershaw, said his client’s actions complied with department procedures.
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