3 shootings by police put spotlight on Justice Department

Community members gather during a vigil in Baton Rouge

3 shootings by police put spotlight on Justice Department

Two white Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police officers will not be charged by federal prosecutors in the shooting death of a black man that was caught on cell phone video, The Associated Press and The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The death of Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge, the state capital, was one in a series of racially charged police killings that inflamed a national debate over treatment of minorities by law enforcement.

U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, Corey Amundson, saying in a news conference today, "We can not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers knew what they were doing was unreasonable or prohibited and they simply chose to do it anyway. To date, this matter has not been investigated or reviewed for possible violations of the Louisiana Criminal Code", Landry said shortly after federal officials announced they wouldn't be bringing charges.

LSU officials warned student-athletes what they "say and do directly impacts how people around the world view LSU". Local politicians and Sterling's family members had complained that the Justice Department had not given them advance warning of its decision. Broome began by stating that despite the Department of Justice's decision, that "does not mean that the police officers acted appropriately".

Sterling was killed on July 5, 2016, outside a convenience store, after a resident called police to report he had been threatened by a black man wearing a red shirt and selling CDs.

"Once the LSP and our assigned prosecutor have reviewed the materials generated by the federal government's investigation and have conducted any further investigation necessary my office will meet with them to review their findings, evaluate the evidence, and make the appropriate prosecutorial decision", the statement said.

Attorneys for Sterling's family met with federal prosecutors before their announcement and later described the threat to the media. Police said video showed that the auto Jordan was in was moving away from police, not going toward them in reverse, as the Balch Springs Police Department originally claimed.

Both officials stopped short of blaming the Justice Department, though Edwards said he hoped the agency investigates the leaks.

Sandra Sterling, the aunt who helped raised Alton Sterling, said during the news conference that she initially couldn't believe it when she heard the news that the officers would not be prosecuted.

Landry warned that a state investigation, which was delayed to allow the federal probe to proceed, "could take a considerable amount of time".

LSP has a team of investigators who examine officer-involved shootings for Sheriff's Offices and Police Departments all over the State. But drawing any conclusions about the department from those cases is risky, in part because each one is different and because prosecutions of officers are hard and rare no matter the administration.

The Justice Department's decision not to charge two white Baton Rouge police officers in the shooting death of a black man may not be the final legal chapter in the case.

The federal investigation has now been closed, although a state investigation will follow, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

Earlier today, community group Together Baton Rouge held a meeting with local activists to discuss the long-awaited decision and how best to move the city forward.

'Although the videos show that Sterling's right hand was not in or near his right pocket, Sterling was continuing to move, even after being shot three times and being told again not to move by Officer Lake.

Cellphone video showed Sterling was pinned to the ground before he was shot, but police said he was reaching for a gun.

As Sterling lies fatally wounded, the other officer removes something from Sterling's right pocket.

Afterward, the camera captures Sterling with a large bloodstain on his chest as an officer on the ground next to him keeps his gun pointed at Sterling. The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched the inquiry two days after his death.

A police report says the officers saw the butt of a gun in one of Sterling's trousers pockets and saw him try to reach for it before he was shot.

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