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BR Metro Council to reconsider family of Alton Sterling's civil lawsuit

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BATON ROUGE - One unread email, that was missed due to being caught in a spam folder, has forced The East Baton Rouge Metro Council to reconsider the proposed $5 million settlement in the civil suit filed on behalf of Alton Sterling's five children, The Advocate reports.

According to state law, the city-parish cannot move forward without reading all public comments into the public record. As this one email was missed and not read into the public record, the council's original decision is now invalid. 

On September 9 the council concluded with a split vote to reject the proposed settlement.

The proposed settlement required seven votes to pass, but only six council members were in favor of the settlement, including: Chauna Banks, LaMont Cole, Donna Collins-Lewis, Erika Green, Chandler Loupe and Tara Wicker.

Five other council members voted against the proposal: Denise Amoroso, Dwight Hudson, Matt Watson, Trae Welch and Scott Wilson.

Councilwoman Jen Racca abstained from the vote.

But after the meeting, the missing email was discovered and council administrator Ashley Beck followed up on what should be done in response to the error. 

An email from Beck states, "I've consulted with the Parish Attorney's Office about this, and they have advised me that because of this error, the item must be placed on another agenda for introduction and then reconsideration." 

The council will reconsider the measure at its October 14 meeting. 

The civil lawsuit was filed in 2017 against the city-parish.

It claims that the 2016 police-involved shooting of a Black man named Alton Sterling outside of a Baton Rouge convenience store was evidence of deeply rooted problems involving racism and excessive force within the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Federal and state prosecutors moved not to press charges against the officers involved, as Sterling is said to have reached for a handgun inside his pocket in the moments before the shooting.

The lawsuit is anticipated to see a March 2021 trial date.

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