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. Read the rest of this entry
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(Reuters) – A Louisiana police officer cannot sue Black Lives Matter because it is a social movement, a U.S. judge ruled on Thursday, finding the campaign could not be held responsible for injuries he got at a protest.
The unidentified officer sued Black Lives Matter and an activist involved in a July 2016 protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the officer was struck by a rock.
The Black Lives Matter movement began with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media in 2012 after black high school student Trayvon Martin was shot dead in Sanford, Florida, by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder and manslaughter.
It grew into a nationwide movement in response to the use of excessive force by police, particularly against black men.
“‘Black Lives Matter,’ as a social movement, cannot be sued, however, in a similar way that a person cannot plausibly sue other social movements such as the Civil Rights movement, the LGBT rights movement or the Tea Party movement,” Chief Judge Brian Jackson of a U.S District Court in Baton Rouge wrote in a 24-page ruling. Read the rest of this entry
In response to the killing of Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016, Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in the streets of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Police arrested 92 protesters. East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his office would not prosecute the protesters. However, those arrested incurred bond, administrative fees and court costs in order to be released. To have those arrests expunged requires more money.
Activist DeRay McKesson was among those arrested.
A federal class-action lawsuit was filed alleging that the militarized police were aggressive in their response to protesters and used “unconstitutional tactics” to infringe upon the protesters’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Fewer than 10 percent of the protesters in the class-action lawsuit were from out of town. Read the rest of this entry
The DOJ released its report on its investigation into the Baltimore Police Department. You can read the entire 164 page report here. I’ve also placed a link to the report on the right-side border under “Documents”.
The DOJ ends its report by summarizing its findings;
“For the foregoing reasons, the Department of Justice concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law. The pattern or practice includes: (1) making unconstitutional stops, searches, and arrests; (2) using enforcement strategies that produce severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of stops, searches and arrests of African Americans; (3) using excessive force; and (4 ) retaliating against people engaging in constitutionally -protected expression. We also identified concern s regarding BPD’s transport of individuals and investigation of sexual assaults. BPD’s failings result from deficient policies, training, oversight, and accountability, and policing strategies that do not engage effectively with the community the Department serves. “
The part I want address concerns stops and arrests that are not prosecuted. Read the rest of this entry