District attorney recuses himself from Sterling investigation
BATON ROUGE - District Attorney Hillar Moore has announced he’ll recuse himself from the Alton Sterling case.
Moore said the decision was “one of the hardest” he’s had to make in his career.
In recusing himself, Moore cited a relationship he has had in the past with the parents of one of the officers, Blane Salamoni. Moore says he has often worked with the parents of Officer Salamoni over the course of his 42-year career. Both of Salamoni’s parents are high-ranking police officers.
Salamoni and the second officer, Howie Lake, were involved in the shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling outside of a Baton Rouge convenience store on July 5th. A full report the DA's office has turned over to federal authorities can be read here.
Moore said the motion to recuse has already been filed. Now, the Attorney General will have to assign another district attorney from another judicial district in the state to take over the investigation. The Attorney General could also handle the case.
The DOJ is handling the investigation of the shooting death of Sterling by Baton Rouge Police last week.
Moore met with the DOJ and African American leaders - including members of the BR Metro Council and state legislative representatives - at the federal complex downtown earlier in the morning.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry issued a statement following Moore’s announcement of his recusal.
Landry said that the Louisiana Department of Justice will not have access to the investigation until the Department of Justice’s federal investigation is completed.
Landry’s full statement is below:
"The Louisiana Department of Justice has been advised by the United States Attorney's Office that we will not have access to the ongoing and extensive federal investigation being conducted in the Alton Sterling shooting until it is fully completed and a decision has been made on potential federal charges. The Louisiana Department of Justice trusts the federal government will prepare a full, fair, and thorough investigation in this matter; and we look forward to fulfilling our responsibilities upon completion of the investigation and receipt of the complete investigative materials. Considering the Louisiana Department of Justice will not have full access to this investigation until the federal government's actions are completed, we will not make any further comment about this ongoing investigation beyond the LADOJ will be prepared to act in a timely, prudent, and judicious manner at the appropriate time."
Some 200 people have been arrested in protests across Baton Rouge in the wake of Sterling's death. City leaders have been discussing protests and security measures since the first groups started gathering a few hours after Sterling's death Tuesday morning.
When asked about the arrests of protesters over the weekend, the district attorney said they're going to review the cases as fast as they possibly can on a case-by-case basis to determine if the charges should stick. Moore said protesters who were arrested should look to video evidence and witness accounts to help determine the validity of the charges brought against them.
Moore went on to praise the work of law enforcement over the weekend in the face of tense conditions. The DA says the community can look to the events of the past week as an opportunity for learning in order to prevent similar events in the future.
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