Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The family of Alton Sterling—a black man who was gunned down on July 5, 2016, by Baton Rouge, La., police—has filed a wrongful death suit against the city, the Baton Rouge Police Department, the police chief and two officers involved in the encounter. The lawsuit claims that the shooting fit a pattern of racist behavior and excessive force present in the police force.


According to the Associated Press, attorneys for Sterling’s five children planned to file the suit in state court. Sterling was shot six times during a struggle outside a convenience store where he was selling homemade CDs.

Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department, which investigated the shooting, announced that it would not file charges against Officer Blane Salamoni—who was responsible for the fatal shots—or Officer Howie Lake II, who wrestled Sterling to the ground, although he never fired his weapon.


Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office, however, has opened its own investigation into the case to see if any state criminal charges will be pursued.

Sterling’s family is seeking unspecified damages in the case, claiming that Sterling’s shooting death was a result of poor training and inadequate police procedures.

Officers responded to the scene after someone called to complain that Sterling was selling CDs out of a car in the parking lot of the Triple S Food Mart and had allegedly threatened the caller with a gun.


Officers first deployed a stun gun and tackled him to the ground. Officers then said they thought that Sterling was reaching for a weapon, prompting Salamoni to fire multiple times.

Both officers are still on administrative leave, according to AP.

Read more at the Associated Press.

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi

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