BATON ROUGE – Mayor Sharon Weston Broome is speaking out in her first on camera interview after she wrote a letter to attorneys for Alton Sterling's family saying she believes Officer Blaine Salamoni should be fired.
The Mayor said the week following the federal decision not to indict the officers, she had a meeting with the feds.
"After having a consultation with the Department of Justice after their announcement, it became clear to me based upon the info they provided to me and Chief Dabadie that certainly officer Salamoni obstructed a lot of police policy and procedures," Broome said.
Broome said that went into her decision process to ask the chief to terminate Salamoni and discipline Officer Howie Lake.
On Thursday morning the Baton Rouge Union of Police issued a response to Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome's call for the firing of one of the BRPD officers involved in the shooting death of Alton Sterling.
The union stated that "it is confusing to us that the Mayor-President would call for the termination of our Officers before the legal process has concluded." The full statement is below:
"The Baton Rouge Union of Police stand behind the men and women of the Baton Rouge Police Department and the citizens of Baton Rouge. It is confusing to us that the Mayor-President would call for the termination of our Officers before the legal process has concluded, thus preventing their due process. For us to be a truly unified city, our leaders MUST not divide us."
Broome said she welcomes the Union to discuss issues with them, but said she believes the Union needs to re-examine positions they have taken in prior instances.
This entire controversy stems from attorneys for the Sterling family sending a letter to the Baton Rouge Police Department and Mayor Broome demanding the firing of BRPD Officers Howie Lake II and Blane Salamoni.
The letter demands the "immediate termination" of Officer Blane Salamoni from the police department. The demand stems from the family's meeting with the Department of Justice where the family was informed that Officer Salamoni "walked up to a non-confrontational Alton Sterling and put his department-issued firearm to the side of Mr. Sterling's head and stated, 'B***h, I will shoot you in your mother f***ing head,' the letter notes. The document further suggests that such behavior is rumored to be "common."
Broome's response three hours later Wednesday afternoon stated, "I believe they should be removed from paid administrative leave and disciplined consistent with the severity of their actions. In Officer Salamoni's case, this warrants termination." She further wrote that she will "following up with a hand-delivered letter to the chief stating such."
Broome described Salamoni's actions as "disturbing and reprehensible" and understood the "outrage" of Sterling's family and the community.
Broome wrote that she has voiced her concerns to BRPD Chief Carl Dabadie about the employment statuses of Salamoni and Lake and said that the chief's next steps are important.
The attorneys' letter, signed by Attorneys L. Chris Stewart, Brandon Decuir, Justin Bamberg and Michael RD Adams, notes that Salamoni's actions are a "direct violation of BRPD's policy regarding de-escalation."
They say his behavior escalated the situation and "placed in Mr. Sterling's mind that he was going to be killed no matter what he did even if he complied," the letter cites.
The letter further states that the attorneys have requested all documents on the officers' past behavior.
"The lack of any action by the Mayor and Chief of Police have forced the attorneys for the Sterling family to now request all documents related to discipline within the BRPD, in order to determine if all officers are being treated equally regarding discipline no matter the race, gender or family ties."
When asked what would happen if Police Chief Carl Dabadie doesn't heed Broome's suggestion to fire Salamoni, she responded, "We'll cross that bridge when we get there."
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