USA

Family’s fury as officers face no charges over shooting

The family of a black man shot dead in a struggle with two white police officers that led to protests across the US say they are furious neither will face criminal charges.

Alton Sterling, 37, was shot six times by officer Blane Salamoni outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in July 2016.

Mobile phone video of the shooting spread on social media, leading to widespread protests.

Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of one of Sterling's children, said the officers killed Sterling "in cold blood."

"They took a human away. They took a father away. They took somebody away that did not deserve to be away," she said.

Video:Baton Rouge shooting caught on video

Sterling's aunt Veda Washington said: "They're not going to bring charges on anybody. Why would they do that? This is white America."

Officer Salamoni and Officer Howie Lake II, who helped wrestle Sterling to the ground, but did not fire his gun, "acted as reasonable officers under existing law and were justified in their use of force," according to a report by Louisiana's attorney general Jeff Landry.

Mr Landry admitted: "I know the Sterling family is hurting. I know that they may not agree with the decision."

Because federal officials have already decided against charging the two officers, the attorney general's decision ends the criminal investigation into their actions.

Mr Sterling was found to have cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl and other drugs in his system at the time of his death and was carrying a loaded revolver, which, as a convicted felon, was an offence.

A makeshift memorial outside the convenience store where Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge
Image:A makeshift memorial outside the convenience store where Sterling was fatally shot

Mobile phone video showed Sterling pinned to the ground by the officers before he was shot, but police said he was shot because he was reaching for a gun.

The father-of-five was selling homemade CDs outside the Triple S Food Mart when officers, responding to reports of a man with a gun, approached him.

The officers told Mr Sterling to put his hands on a car and struggled with him when he did not comply.

Mr Sterling continued to resist after Salamoni drew his weapon and threatened to shoot him in the head if he didn't stop moving, according to Landry's report.

Salamoni shouted that Sterling was reaching for a gun in his pocket before shooting him three times, and then fired three more shots into Sterling's back when he began to sit up and move, according to state and federal investigations.

Lone activist and mother Leshia Evans travelled to Baton Rouge to protest against the shooting of Alton Sterling in July 2016
Image:Activist and mother Leshia Evans travelled to Baton Rouge to protest against the shooting of Sterling

Last year, the officers were cleared by a federal investigation, which found their use of force was not objectively unreasonable.

The shooting came at a time of high tensions between the police and the black community amid other fatal encounters.

More from Louisiana

The following day Philando Castile was shot and killed in Minnesota by a police officer, with the aftermath streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend.

The same week, five police officers were killed in Dallas, Texas during a protest against police shootings.

Original Article

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