The two Baton Rouge police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling will not face federal charges, sources told the Washington Post.
The Justice Department is expected to announce its decision in the next 24 hours, the Post reported on May 2, 2017, nearly a year after the Louisiana shooting.
Office Blane Salomini was the officer who fired the fatal shot, The Advocate reports. Sterling was killed in July 2016 outside a convenience store. The other officer has been named as Officer Howie Lake II.
The officers had responded to a disturbance call in which the caller said someone had been threatening him with a gun, police told the news station.
The officers both said they “believe they were completely justified in using deadly force,” East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said at a press conference.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The 48-Second Video Shows the Moments Leading Up to the Shooting
The brief video, which you can watch above, shows the end of the incident. In the video, an officer can be heard yelling “get on the ground,” out of the view of the cell phone camera. As the camera pans up, an officer is seen charging at Alton Sterling, grabbing him and tackling him into the hood of a car and then down to the pavement.
Another officer can then be seen kneeling on Sterling. After a few seconds one of the officers yells, “He’s got a gun!” The officer seen in the video kneeling on Sterling draws his weapon and one of them says, “if you f*cking move, I swear to God!”
Two shots can then be heard and the bystander drops the cell phone. Three more shots are then fired after a brief pause.
The store’s owner, Abdullah Muflahi, told The Advocate that Sterling was armed, but said he was not holding his gun or touching his pockets during the incident, the Advocate reports. The gun was later found in his pocket, Muflahi told the newspaper. Police have not confirmed his version of events.
You can watch video of Muflahi talking about what he saw during the shooting, recorded by a reporter for The Advocate, below:
Muflahi told The Advocate that Sterling began carrying a gun after he was mugged. He said a Taser was used by the officers on Sterling, but it did not bring him to the ground. The sound of the stun gun can be heard at the start of the video.
Sterling was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting, the Baton Rouge Police Department said in a press release.
An autopsy was conducted later Tuesday. He died of multiple gunshot wounds to the back and chest, the East Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office told WBRZ-TV.
The wounds to the back were entrance wounds, the coroner told Heavy.com.
The investigation into the shooting has been turned over to the FBI, the Baton Rouge Police Department said.
In addition to the witness video, police said they have surveillance video from the convenience store and dash camera video from police vehicles.
The officers were wearing body cameras, but they fell off during the incident, State Representative Denise Marcelle told WAFB-TV. She said Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. told her about the cameras falling off, and said they do not show the shooting as a result.
Sterling’s family has called for all other video showing the shooting to be released, while police have asked any witnesses who recorded video to turn it over to them to aid in the investigation.
2. Salamoni Called Being a Cop a ‘Fun Job,’ Saying He Particularly Likes Chases & Pursuits
Officer Blane Salamoni, a third generation police officer, is a four-year veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department, authorities said.
Salamoni, 28, works in the uniform patrol division. In an 2013 story in The Advocate about Baton Rouge Police recruiting, Salamoni said being an officer is “a fun job.” He added that he particularly likes the chases and pursuits.
Salamoni said he previously worked in construction before entering the police academy. He graduated at the top of his class in 2011.
His wife, Allison, is a local EMT.
He won a “life saving” award in 2015, according to the department’s Facebook page.
Salamoni graduated from Catholic High School in Baton Rouge in 2006, according to the school’s website. He then graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2010.
3. Salamoni’s Father Is a High-Ranking Member of the Department’s Command Staff & His Mother Is a Retired Captain
Officer Blane Salamoni’s father is a high-ranking member of the Baton Rouge Police Department’s command staff and was once a finalist for the city’s police chief job.
Captain Noel Salamoni is the commander of the department’s Special Operations Division, according to the city’s website. He has been with the department for more than 34 years, according to his Linkedin profile.
The elder Salamoni was a finalist for the city’s police chief position in 2013, but the current chief, Carl Dabadie Jr., was chosen instead. He is also a past president of the Baton Rouge police union.
Blane Salamoni’s mother, Melissa Salamoni, is a retired Baton Rouge police captain, according to her Linkedin profile.
She joined the department in 1984 and was the violent crime and crime scene commander at the time of her retirement in June.
4. His Father-in-Law Attacked Black Protesters, Saying They’re ‘Trying to Make an Agenda’ Out of Police Shootings
Salamoni’s father-in-law, James Durdin, lashed out against protesters in an interview with the New York Daily News.
“It burns my you-know-what when it’s – usually the black people – that try to make an agenda out of this,” Durdin told the Daily News. “What I’d like to see is them with no police at all, so they can know what it’s like not to have them… The majority of [cops] would never be abusive. Does anyone give a you-know-what about that? We’ll have social chaos [without cops].”
Durdin said Salamoni is well-trained and followed his training.
He said it is “a dirty shame that things like this end up in the news, ‘cause there’s something going around the country and it’s anti-police.”
5. The Other Officer, Lake, Was Put on Leave After He Shot a Suspect in 2014
Officer Howie Lake II is three-year veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department.
Lake, 28, was put on administrative leave in 2014 after he was one of six officers who shot a 28-year-old man, Kevin Knight, WAFB-TV reported at the time. Knight survived the shooting.
According to police, the officers shot Knight after he fired at them.
Like Salamoni, Lake won a “life saving” award in 2015, according to the department’s Facebook page.
Lake attended Parkview Baptist High School in Baton Rouge, graduating in 2006. He then played college football, as an offensive lineman, at Louisiana College.
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