One officer fired, another suspended for Alton Sterling shooting
BATON ROUGE - One of two Baton Rouge police officers involved in the shooting death of Alton Sterling has been fired, Police Chief Murphy Paul revealed Friday.
The announcement comes just days after Attorney General Jeff Landry said the state would not pursue charges against officers Howie Lake and Blane Salamoni. The two have been at the center of state and federal investigations for the past two years over the 2016 shooting, which stirred up massive protests in the Baton Rouge area.
After the state announced its decision to not charge the officers Tuesday, Paul said he would decide on disciplinary action by the end of the week. The police chief said Salamoni was terminated Friday for mishandling the encounter, explaining he did not follow BRPD protocol when confronting Sterling, nor did he exercise "emotional control."
Paul added that Lake would be suspended three days for failing to maintain his composure during the encounter.
Along with the chief's decision, BRPD released the body camera, dash camera and surveillance footage from the night of the shooting. It marks the first time the footage has been officially released in the more than 20 months following the shooting.
Members of the Sterling family, who saw the body camera footage during the federal investigation last year, often described Salamoni as the aggressor in the confrontation. They alleged his actions escalated the situation.
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome released a statement following Blane Salamoni's firing Friday afternoon, supporting Chief Murphy Paul's decision:
"Today, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul concluded his administrative investigation and has made a decision in the Alton Sterling case.
I have placed my trust in Chief Paul and fully support his decision. I am grateful for his leadership and his swift, decisive, and fair action on this matter.
Although the investigations into this case have concluded, the dialogue does not end today. I pledge to continue to lead and facilitate respectful conversations between the community and law enforcement in an effort to build trust and understanding on both sides.
The backdrop of this Holy Weekend serves as an opportunity for our community to move toward collective healing.
While support and prayers for the Sterling family are encouraged, we know that these alone will not heal their family or our community. It is vital that lessons are learned from this tragedy and that we apply our knowledge to prevent future incidents and implement policies that make this community safer and more unified."
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