UPDATE: Alton Sterling’s Family Seeks Videos Not Made Public
Alton Sterling was 37-years old when he was killed on July 5, 2016, in Baton Rouge, LA. Alton was selling homemade CD’s and DVD’s outside the Triple S Food Mart when Officer Blane Salamoni fired six shots into Alton at close range. Officer Howie Lake II, shocked Alton with a stun gun and helped wrestle Sterling to the ground but did not fire his gun.
In May of this year, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would not bring federal criminal charges against the officers. The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office is now investigating the case.
Alton’s children and their mothers have filed a civil suit. Attorneys representing them have requested a private viewing of videos that include police body cams and surveillance video that captured the moments before Alton was fatally shot. The Attorney General’s office has those videos, but as of October 5, 2017, have not complied with the request.
Two cellphone videos taken by bystanders captured the violent end of the encounter and were made public, but body cam and surveillance videos are in possession of the Attorney General’s office and have not been made public.
In May, the DOJ told lawyers and family members about the audio and video from the shooting, and at times described it. According to a source who spoke with The Advocate, Officer Salamoni is seen pointing his gun at Alton’s head, yelling profanities, and a threat to kill him.
Chris Stewart, one of the lawyers representing the family, stated;
“We understand that there’s body camera footage that captures the entire incident beforehand. We believe the body camera footage will show Salamoni getting out and putting his gun to Sterling’s head for no reason.”
“We need this information for our civil lawsuit. It’s hampering our investigation, and you have the lawsuit proceeding especially because the city of Baton Rouge has done nothing to resolve this civil case.”
After 10 months of DOJ investigation, the state, through its Attorney General’s office, is now in its fifth month of investigation.
“It’s taking a long time, but if the end result is justice for the Sterling family then that’s fine,” Stewart said. “It’s disappointing how long the city has taken to handle the civil suit. Typically these types of cases are resolved pretty quickly but that’s politics.”
One of the federal agents who investigated the case in Baton Rouge is Jeffrey Sallet. He also oversaw the FBI’s national response to incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland, and New York. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Sallet insisted the FBI “is not the national shooting review board.” “We have extreme faith and confidence in state and local law enforcement to investigate their shootings,” Sallet said.
In August, Michael J. Anderson announced his retirement as the Agent in charge of the FBI’s field office in Chicago. On November 6, 2017, Sallet takes over that role as Special Agent in Charge. He is already losing sleep over the issue of Chicago’s gun violence.
Welcome to Chicago, Special Agent Jeffrey Sallet.