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Sterling family says shooting fit racist behavior of police force, Sterling in agony as he died

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BATON ROUGE – Relatives of Alton Sterling claim Sterling's shooting death at the hands of Baton Rouge Police last year fit a pattern of racist behavior and excessive force that runs deep in the department, the Associated Press reported ahead of a news conference by attorneys Tuesday.

     READ the lawsuit here

Attorneys for Alton Sterling’s five children planned to file the wrongful death lawsuit in state court against the city of Baton Rouge, its police department and police chief and the two officers involved in last summer’s deadly encounter. Officer Blane Salamoni shot Sterling six times during a struggle outside a convenience store where the 37-year-old black man was selling homemade CDs.

The Justice Department announced in May, it would not file charges against the officers involved. The state attorney general is now reviewing the case.

The AP reported the family's lawsuit claims Sterling’s shooting was the product of poor training and inadequate police procedures. It seeks unspecified damages.

Sterling was in “agony” for minutes before he died “as a result of the vicious, negligent, and unreasonable fatal actions” of the officers, the family said in a draft of the lawsuit provided to The Associated Press.  Sterling had a history of “adverse breathing problems and could not lie on his back for any extended period of time,” the draft of the lawsuit says.

The officers involved are still on paid leave from the department. 

Watch the news conference on demand on the WBRZ Channel 2 Facebook page HERE.

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