It’s been more than 3 years since Alton Sterling was shot and killed by a Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officer. And now, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul is offering an apology to the city and to Sterling’s family for hiring the officer in the first place.
“Baton Rouge, we are sorry,” Murphy said, WAFB9 reports. “I want to apologize to the family of Alton Sterling and his family because [Blane Salamoni] never should have been hired. Although we obviously cannot change the past, it is clear we need to change the future.”
Salamoni was fired in March 2018 by Chief Paul, however, there was an ongoing appeal to the termination. In the end, the department settled with Salamoni, who was allowed to resign, rather than being fired, although he will never return to the police department.
According to Attorney Leo Hamilton, Salamoni did not receive any back pay for financial compensation and has dismissed all of his claims, WAFB9 notes.
“Mr. Salamoni’s ill temperament and disregard of rules was evident before his employment with BRPD,” said Hamilton. “Mr. Salamoni failed to report he had such an arrest on his application to the police force.”
Salamoni’s previous arrest, which again was on his record before he applied to the police department, was related to a domestic incident.
The apology was appreciated by Sterling’s family, and the rest of the community, who feel as if they have some measure of closure.
“This was the first time I could breathe. Finally, the truth has come out, finally. That’s all we ever wanted to hear. We were never against the police, never,” Sandra Sterling, Alton’s aunt told WAFB9.
“There’s a whole different comfort level that I have today in that police department than I had yesterday based on what Chief Paul stated today. I’ve never seen a sitting police chief say those things. That statement today, I think will do a great deal to heal our community as well as let our community know they’re still valued,” Eugene Collins, the president of the Baton Rouge NAACP added.