Louisiana won't charge cops in Alton Sterling shooting

The two Baton Rouge police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling will not face criminal charges, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced Tuesday.

Sterling, a 37-year-old black father of five, was shot six times by officer Blane Salamoni on 5 July 2016. What differs here is the AG investigators have been trying to determine if the officers involved, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, should face any state criminal charges in the death of Sterling.

A video of Sterling's shooting went viral after his death, showing an officer tackling him to the ground before another officer shot him, inciting social media backlash and protests across the country.

The officers' body cameras and a store surveillance camera also recorded the encounter.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry says a black man fatally shot by two white police officers had illegal drugs in his system at the time of the encounter outside a convenience store. As a convicted felon, Sterling could not legally carry a gun.

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The officers, he said, tried to make a lawful arrest, tried Tasering and other nonlethal techniques to subdue Sterling when he didn't comply with commands, and made "well-founded and reasonable" attempts to control Sterling's hands until the moment one officer claims he saw Sterling try to reach a gun.

Federal authorities concluded there wasn't enough evidence to prove Salamoni or Lake willfully deprived Sterling of his civil rights, or that the officers' use of force was objectively unreasonable.

Protests in Baton Rouge sparked by Sterling's death led to more than 200 arrests in 2016.

The Attorney General released a report on the full investigation into Alton Sterling's death.

Felma White, a 63-year-old retired food service worker, wore a shirt adorned with screen-printed news clippings showing Sterling's grieving family and newspaper headlines about the shooting.

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"We owe this final review to the Baton Rouge community and the Sterling family", he said in a statement Tuesday.

The Justice Department last spring said that Salamoni at this point put a gun to Sterling's head. Late previous year, a judge ruled that dozens of protesters should receive between $500 and $1,000 each as payment for having their constitutional rights denied due to the use of excessive force.

"This decision was not taken lightly", Landry told a press conference.

At one point, videos show, someone shouts, "He's got a gun!" State and local officials, including law enforcement agencies, have also been told to expect a decision in the case. After learning neither officer would be charged with federal crimes, dozens of people held a peaceful vigil outside the convenience store where Sterling was shot.

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