Alton Sterling’s Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Louisiana Cops
By Clarissa Hamlin
The children of Alton Sterling filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the police chief and the officers who shot him, reports NBC News.
The move comes after the Department of Justice failed to bring charges against the officers. Sterling, 37, a father of five, was shot six times by Officer Blane Salamoni after a struggle outside of a convenience store on July 5, 2016, just a day before Philando Castile was killed by police in Minnesota.
Sterling’s children said in the suit that the shooting fit a racist pattern by police to use lethal force against Blacks, an issue that many protesters were vocal about during demonstrations following his death.
Sterling’s kids, who are seeking unspecified damages, also said their father’s death was at the hands of poorly trained officers who used inadequate procedures, writes NBC. The suit cites two examples of Baton Rouge cops allegedly sent racist texts to colleagues, with racial slurs against people who protested Sterling’s death.
“The City of Baton Rouge has a long-standing pervasive policy of tolerating racist behavior by some of its officers,” the suit says. “There have also been multiple verbal racist comments by officers reported to the department.
Officers Salamoni or Howie Lake II found Sterling, who was selling homemade CDs, at Triple S Food Mart on that hot summer day last July. After telling Sterling to put his hands on the hood of a car, a struggle ensued and Lake used his stun gun on Sterling. The officers pushed Sterling to the ground before Salamoni reportedly shot him three times. The officer then fired three more shots into Sterling’s back when he sat up and moved, reports NBC.
Racial tensions in the city and around the country reached a fever pitch after the deadly encounter, which was captured by videos from two cellphones as well as footage from the officers’ body cameras and store’s surveillance.