Less than 24 hours after the decision was made by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to not prosecute the police officers who killed Alton Sterling last July in Baton Rouge, there are new developments.
Announced by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, the state has decided to launch a criminal investigation on the two officers involved in the shooting death of the 37-year-old man.
“The USDOJ’s review of this matter was to determine violations of federal law: specifically, federal civil rights laws,” Landry said in a statement. “To date this matter has not been investigated or reviewed for possible violations of the Louisiana Criminal Code.”
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“This matter now needs to be investigated for possible state criminal violations. In order to ensure this matter is investigated by the agency with the most expertise in officer-involved shootings, I have directed the USDOJ to securely forward their investigative materials to the Louisiana State Police (LSP) to conduct the state investigation.”
In layman’s terms, the case has now gone from civil to criminal, which has more serious implications if found guilty in the court of law.
The two officers who will now have to answer to the State of Louisiana in regard to these criminal charges are Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, who are currently on administrative leave.
As reported by CNN, after 10 months of grieving and wondering, Alton Sterling’s family met with Justice Department officials to learn whether police officers would face federal charges for Sterling’s death. But even before a decision was announced, the family was livid after reports surfaced Tuesday that the Justice Department decided not to prosecute the two officers.
“He put a gun to his head y’all making it seem like it was Alton,” Sandra Sterling, Alton’s aunt said in an emotional press conference.
“Salamoni put that gun to his head and said, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ So how do you think Alton felt?! This is what Salamoni did… Y’all record that!”