Family members, civilians and the governor of Louisiana are expected to attend a prayer vigil on Thursday night, following the fatal shooting that left Alton Sterling dead in Baton Rouge. The incident has prompted a debate over reforms in law enforcement.
Lousiana Governor, John Bel Edwards announced his attendance to the vigil of Sterling, a 37-year-old man who was shot dead by the police earlier this week. The governor plans to deliver some remarks at the community gathering, according to his Twitter account.
The incident between Sterling and the police officers took place on Tuesday at the Triple S Food Mart’s parking lot, where the man worked selling CDs. People captured in a video when Sterling was on the ground with the police on top, and later when he was fatally shot.
Investigations began to determine what exactly happened that day. The local district attorney announced that federal officials would handle the investigations. The two officers involved in the Sterling shooting have been put on administrative leave, as reported by CNN.
A day after the Sterling shooting, another black man was shot dead in a police-related as well shooting in Minnesota. Philando Castile, 32, died at a Minneapolis hospital after an officer fired him during a traffic stop on Wednesday. Even though the exact moment of the shooting was not caught on camera, the aftermath was captured on live video and streamed on Facebook by a passenger in the car, as reported by the Washington Post.
A father of five.
Shot dead for selling cd's.
This is murder.
— wHo (@ZoloZaynZquaad) July 6, 2016
Use of force in records
According to police records, four previous “use of force” complaints were filed against the two white officers involved in the Sterling shooting, Blane Salamoni, and Howie Lake II. However, they were both cleared of them all at the time.
The complaints were from three black men and a black juvenile. The paperwork was released on Thursday after the Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation into the 37-year-old man shooting.
Lake was involved in a police shooting in December 2014, but he told detectives that he fired six or seven times when a black man refused to drug his gun, threatened to kill himself and pointed his revolver at the officers on the scene. The man resulted wounded but alive.
The same year, Lake also injured a combative black juvenile when they both ended up in the ground fighting. The reports from Salamoni stated that he punched a black man in 2015 when he allegedly tried to grab his stun gun. Salamoni was also in a vehicle pursuit that ended up with a black man crashing into a retaining wall. He was given a letter of caution for another involvement in a “preventable” crash.
A spokesman for the Louisiana Governor commented that the authorities handling the investigation would not only look whether civil rights were violated in the death of Alton Sterling, but also whether there were any other violations of the state and federal law.
According to Richard Carbo, if the U.S. attorney’s office finds any violation of the state law and believes the officers should be charged with battery, assault or murder, it will refer the case back to the local district attorney for prosecution.
Source: The Washington Post