Alton Sterling: Cop dismissed over deadly Baton Rouge shooting

  • Published
Media caption,
Police have released footage showing the confrontation that led to the shooting

A white police officer who shot and killed a black man in the US state of Louisiana has been dismissed from the force.

A second white officer involved in the deadly shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge in 2016 has been suspended.

Video footage showing the officers holding down Mr Sterling, 37, as one fired his gun, sparked days of protests in the city.

Earlier this week it was announced the pair would not face criminal charges.

Mr Sterling was shot after a resident reported being threatened by a black man selling CDs.

Police said Mr Sterling was trying to pull a loaded gun out of his pocket when he was shot.

The case was one of a series of incidents that led to protests across the US and the launch of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Police Chief Murphy Paul told a news conference on Friday that officer Blane Salamoni, who shot Mr Sterling during a confrontation outside a shop, had been dismissed for violating department standards on the use of force and for losing his temper.

Officer Howie Lake has been suspended for three days for failing to maintain his composure.

The police department has released a series of videos - from the officer's body cameras, a police car dash camera and a store security camera - showing the confrontation and deadly shooting.

Chief Paul described them as "graphic and shocking to the conscience".

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Federal officials agreed there was "insufficient evidence" to show Mr Sterling's rights were violated

He said the measures he was announcing aimed "to bring closure to a cloud that has been over our community for far too long".

He added that both officers planned to appeal.

Shot six times

In deciding to bring no criminal charges, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said the officers had acted reasonably under "existing law and were justified in their use of force".

Media caption,
Pinned down and shot in Louisiana

Federal officials said there was "insufficient evidence" to show Mr Sterling's civil rights had been violated.

Toxicology and urine test results showed Mr Sterling tested positive for cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids and other drugs at the time of his death, according to a report released by Mr Landry's office.

The Louisiana prosecutor said the results could indicate that "Sterling was under the influence and that contributed to his noncompliance".

The report also revealed Mr Sterling had been shot six times, including three times in the chest.

After the shooting, officers removed a handgun from his pocket, according to Mr Landry's office.

Media caption,
The story behind this photo at Baton Rouge protests

At the time of Mr Sterling's death, a series of fatal police shootings involving African-Americans had sparked a debate about police use of force.

There were nearly 200 arrests during subsequent protests, which preceded a turbulent couple of weeks in US race relations.