Report: No charges against officers in Alton Sterling death


Hundreds of people rallied at Lee Circle in 2016 following the death of Alton Sterling.
  • Hundreds of people rallied at Lee Circle in 2016 following the death of Alton Sterling.

As Baton Rouge braces for a decision nearly a year after the killing of Alton Sterling by police and the heavy summer that followed, The Washington Post reports the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will not bring charges against the two officers.

Sterling was killed by police July 5, 2016 after they had pinned him to the ground outside Triple S Food Mart, where Sterling sold CDs and family and supporters have gathered in the months following his death. On July 6, the DOJ announced it had opened a civil rights investigation.

If the feds refuse to bring federal charges against the officers, the decision could rest with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry to decide whether to bring state charges. On Twitter, Landry said his office will not comment until the DOJ makes a formal announcement. Gov. John Bel Edwards also has declined to comment pending confirmation from the DOJ.
According to The Washington Post and several Louisiana outlets, Sterling's family was not notified of the DOJ decision prior to media reports. In a statement, newly elected Baton Rouge mayor Sharon Weston Broom said she is "appalled that this news, whether true or false, has been disseminated without a formal decision being relayed to the Sterling family first." U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond said the report and lack of an announcement to the family "is an indictment on [the] DOJ."

"It completely undermines the credibility and transparency of [the Justice Department]," he said on Twitter.

Following Sterling's death and police response, thousands of people participated in demonstrations in Baton Rouge (where they were met with heavily armed and armored state and local police) and around the U.S. and in New Orleans, where hundreds of people gathered at Lee Circle to rally against police violence.

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