The two Baton Rouge police officers involved in the controversial 2016 shooting death of Alton Sterling won’t face charges in the case, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said Tuesday.
“This decision was not taken lightly,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced. “We came to this conclusion after countless hours of reviewing the evidence.”
Sterling’s grieving loved ones were enraged after Landry privately told them officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II would not face state charges.
“This is white America,” Sterling’s tearful aunt, Veda Washington, told reporters ahead of the announcement. “They’re not going to bring no charges on anybody.”
“He was murdered by two white…racist police officers,” she continued. “They murdered him like an animal.”
Moments later, Landry explained the lengthy state investigation found the officers were “well-founded and reasonable” in their confrontation with Sterling.
Salamoni and Lake were called to a Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge on July 5, 2016, after a 911 call that a person was threatening people with a gun outside the store.
Landry said surveillance footage showed Sterling threatening a man with a gun before cops arrived.
Sterling, who regularly sold homemade CDs outside the convenience store, was in the middle of a transaction when cops arrived.
The 37-year-old father of five soon got into a scuffle with the two lawmen, Landry said, as they tried to make a “lawful arrest.”
Salamoni drew his weapon and pointed it at Sterling, and made a “loud, aggressive verbal command” for him to stop, the AG said.
At another point Salamoni holstered his gun as he and Lake tried to restrain Sterling, who Landry said had “scheduled and illegal” substances in his system at the time.
“It is reasonable that Mr. Sterling was under the influence and that contributed to his non-compliance,” Landry said.
Cellphone video from the confrontation, which provoked nationwide outrage, showed Sterling struggling with the cops outside the Baton Rouge store.
Lake used a Taser twice on Sterling in a bid to bring him down, officials said.
The cops struggled to restrain Sterling’s one arm during the struggle, the top prosecutor said.
Salamoni screamed “He’s going for a gun, the gun,” Landry said, which prompted him to fire six rounds at Sterling over two bursts.
The officers later recovered a loaded .38-caliber handgun in Sterling’s right pocket, Landry said.
Salamoni and Lake dodged federal civil rights charges in May 2017, when Justice Department investigators said cops didn’t break any rules.
Sterling’s children sued the Baton Rouge Police Department a month later, blaming its policies for allowing racism among the ranks and poor training practices.
They accused Salamoni of telling their father “b—h I will f–king kill you” and “I am going to shoot you in your motherf–king head” ahead of the struggle.
Landry’s office spent the last 10 months reinvestigating the DOJ probe, he said.
That included studying body cameras, which fell off the officers, as well as surveillance footage — both of which haven’t been released.
“They didn’t see police officers do anything wrong,” said an irate Washington, Sterling’s aunt.
“I told them to kiss my ass,” she told reporters.