The relatives of Alton Sterling, a Black man who was fatally shot by Baton Rouge Police, have accepted the $4.5 million settlement from the city.
Alton Sterling died at the age of 37 when he was shot by a police officer in 2016. His family filed a lawsuit in 2017 against the city.
Attorneys for Sterling’s family said that the victim’s five children would benefit from the settlement. They are also hopeful that the settlement would involve “significant policy changes” for Baton Rouge police officers, NBC News reported.
“Our hope is that these policy changes, which focus on de-escalation, providing verbal warnings prior to using deadly force and prohibiting officers from both using chokeholds and firing into moving vehicles, will ensure that no other family has to endure the trauma and heartbreak that Mr. Sterling’s family went through and will create a better future going forward for Baton Rouge residents,” the lawyers said in a statement.
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome supported the remarks with her own statement, “As a community, we must work together to implement changes in policy and in our community to ensure that no other families in Baton Rouge will endure this loss, trauma, or heartbreak.”
On July 5, 2016, police responded to a call regarding a man in a red shirt standing outside a convenience store with a gun and acting in a threatening manner. Sterling was wearing red and outside selling CDs.
Video footage shows Sterling pushing back against the two responding officers when they approach and attempt to pin him against a car. Officer Howie Lake II tried to shock the victim with a Taser, but it did not escalate the situation. That is when Officer Blane Salamoni tackled Sterling to the ground.
Salamoni was heard yelling profanities at Sterling and threatening to shoot him in the head. Sterling can be heard asking what he did? Shortly after, the shooting occurs.
Salamoni can be heard panting, and his hands are seen holding his gun. He’s also seen going through the victim’s pockets and called him a “stupid mother*******” twice.
Officer Blane Salamoni was fired, and Officer Howie Lake II was suspended in the death. The U.S. Justice Department and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry decided not to pursue charges against the two officers.