On July 5th of 2016, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old Black American was shot several times at close range by two White Baton Rouge Police Department officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His death resulted in an uproar within communities in America. Years later, the two officers (Blane Salamoni, Howie Lake II), responsible for his death are acquitted on all charges.
On May of 2017, the Justice Department released a statement saying, “there would be no federal civil rights charges against the officers because of insufficient evidence.” Ten months later, Louisiana’s State Attorney General Jeff Landry declares both officers involved in Alton’s death will not be charged, after the state’s investigation. Are you surprised?
According to the Police
They responded to a 911 call, made by a homeless man. Allegedly, Alton Sterling pulled a gun on him after he panhandled him for spare change. Upon their arrival at the scene, Alton Sterling allegedly resisted arrest and did not cooperate with the two officers at the scene. Because of the above mentioned, officers (Blane Salamoni, Howie Lake II) deemed it okay to end Alton Sterling’s life.
“Sterling’s gun was not visible at any point.”
History of Police Convictions
According to an article produced by CNN on March 27, 2018, between 2005 and April 2017, 80 officers had been arrested on murder or manslaughter charges for on-duty shootings. During that 12-year span, 35% were convicted, while the rest were pending or not convicted, according to Philip Stinson, an associate professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
Jeff Landry’s decision not to charge his officers was made this past Tuesday (March 27th). Because they were acquitted of charges, it does not conclude that chapter. Sterling’s five children filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the Summer of 2017 against officers, Blane Salamoni, and Howie Lake II. Attorneys for Sterling’s family also slammed what they called a biased decision, and urged the public to hold Landry accountable by voting him out of office. “It takes courage … to fight for justice; we didn’t see that in this situation,” family attorney Chris Stewart said.
America, especially Blacks in America, want the two officers brought to justice. But based on the chronological order of killings of Black people in America, there’s no room for justice. Most believe there’s no such thing as Justice for Blacks in America, that the idea is far-fetched.
Your voice matters here at MEF, and we welcome every opinion. Do you believe Black Lives Matter in America? And is The Attorney General’s decision not to prosecute his officers justified?