Louisiana AG wont charge cops for Alton Sterling's shooting death (VIDEO)

Louisiana’s top law enforcement official said this week he won’t press charges against two white cops accused of shooting a black man in cold blood.

Attorney General Jeff Landry deemed the use of force against Alton Sterling justified — reaffirming a decision from the Department of Justice in May not to prosecute Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake for shooting Sterling to death outside a Baton Rouge convenience store nearly two years ago.

“I know the Sterling family is hurting,” Landry said during a news conference Tuesday. “I know they may not agree with this decision.”

The attorney general’s office released its 34-page report of the 10-month investigation into Sterling’s July 2016 death, which touched off demonstrations around the country against police brutality in minority communities. That same week, an officer shot and killed Philando Castile as he reached for his license during a traffic stop in St. Anthony, Minnesota and a sniper murdered five Dallas cops during a peaceful protest over the recent string of police killings.

“This decision was not taken lightly,” Landry said. “We came to this conclusion after countless hours of reviewing the evidence gathered and turned over by the U.S. Department of Justice, including voluminous documents, many photographs and extensive video evidence — and after our own interviews of eye witnesses to the events.”

Sterling’s family vehemently denounced the conclusion Tuesday. An attorney for two of his five children criticized Landry for relying too much on the federal reviewers and not thoroughly vetting witnesses.

“They took a human away. They took a father away,” Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of one of Sterling’s children, told the Associated Press. “They took somebody away that did not deserve to be away.”

The state’s toxicology findings revealed Sterling had cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl and other drugs in his system when Salamoni and Lake arrived at the Triple S Mart just after midnight on July 5, 2016 in response to reports of a man selling CDs and threatening a person with a gun.

“Considering this, it is reasonable that Mr. Sterling was under the influence and that contributed to his non-compliance,” Landry told reporters.

Investigators said a struggle ensued as the officers attempted to arrest Sterling, believing him armed. Lake even deployed a taser gun twice with little effect, according to Landry. Salamoni fired the fatal blows as he wrestled with Sterling on the ground beside his squad car. Video footage captures the officer screaming “he’s going for the gun” before shooting Sterling a total of six times, Landry said. A .38-caliber handgun was later recovered from Sterling’s pocket.

“Our job was not to determine whether Baton Rouge Police Department policy was followed or if certain tactics or language were more appropriate than others,” Landry concluded.

BRPD placed both officers on paid administrative leave after the shooting pending an investigation. Police Chief Murphy Paul told the Associated Press he will release body camera videos and store surveillance footage after he completes the disciplinary process Friday.

John McLindon, Salamoni’s attorney, told news media his client’s firing “is a foregone conclusion.”

Lake’s lawyer, meanwhile, maintains the officer acted within department guidelines and should keep his job.

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