Baton Rouge, LA - Instead of waiting for the ongoing state investigation into the Alton Sterling shooting to be completed, Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and Alton Sterling's children are demanding that both Baton Rouge police officers who were involved be fired.
Attorneys for Sterling's children sent a letter with the demand to Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, according to The Advocate. Hours after receiving the letter, Mayor Broome agreed, and called for the termination of one of the police officers, Blane Salamoni.
In the letter, the attorneys accuse Officer Salamoni and Officer Howie Lake II of violating Baton Rouge Police Department policies and procedures during the incident. The issue is the same that has been previously discussed, that Officer Salamoni put a gun to Sterling's head within minutes after his arrival, and 'used obscenities while threatening to kill him.'
The children's attorneys state in the letter, "Of major concern is that the department has known about Officer Salamoni's behavior since the night of the incident and did not take any action to terminate his employment."
Unless the policy and procedures and/or the constitution have changed, family demands do not take precedence over due process and the rights of both police officers.
The Department of Justice announced earlier in May that a federal investigation had determined that neither officer had violated Sterling's civil rights, and that there would be no federal charges. The case was then sent to the Louisiana State Police for a criminal investigation, which is still ongoing.
In response to the letter, Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said, "We have to wait and let the legal system play out, let the criminal aspect play out before we decide anything internally."
The Alton Sterling shooting occurred on July 5, 2016 at 12:35 AM Police Officers responded to the Triple S Food Mart on a report that Sterling had threatened a man with a gun. Upon arrival, officers located Sterling and confronted him. He refused to cooperate and was tased. The Taser was not effective so one officer tackled Sterling, and he went down next to a car.
As the officers were on the ground with Sterling, one officer pinned Sterling's left arm under his knee. Sterling's right arm was under the bumper of the car. The officer on Sterling's right side was unable to gain control of Sterling's right arm because it was under the car and Sterling was fighting.
The officer fighting for Sterling's right arm yelled, "He's got a gun! Gun"
The other officer told Sterling “Hey bro, if you fucking move, I swear to God,” while holding his gun to Sterling's chest. Then the officer on Sterling's right yelled “Lake, he’s going for the gun!”
Gunshots can be heard and the video panned away as more shots went off. A witness, the store owner and self-professed friend of Sterling, told police he saw the officers pull a gun from Sterling's right pocket.
In response, Sergeant C. Bryan Taylor, President of the Baton Rouge Union of Police, said, according to WVUE:
"The Baton Rouge Union of Police stand behind the men and women of the Baton Rouge Police Department and the citizens of Baton Rouge. It is confusing to us that the Mayor-President would call for the termination of our Officers before the legal process has concluded, thus preventing their due process. For us to be a truly unified city, our leaders MUST not divide us.
This is our professional and complete response to this matter. There will be no further statements".
Sterling's intent was clear from the beginning. He refused to obey commands, he continued to resist and fight the officers, and try to get his gun out of his pocket. He intended to shoot the officers.
He also was not able to legally possess a gun because of a 2000 conviction for being a child molester. Nothing seems to have stopped him from illegally possessing guns, including convictions for carrying guns, fighting with the police, and battering women. His criminal history is nearly 50 pages long.
Both officers remain on paid administrative leave.