Blane Salamoni—the Baton Rouge, La., police officer who killed 37-year-old Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016—has been fired, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul announced Friday.
“These [police officers’] actions were not minor deviations from policy, as they contributed to the outcome that resulted in the death of another human being,” Paul said.
Officer Howie Lake II, who aided and abetted in Sterling’s death, will be suspended for three days.
Even though Paul decided to fire Salamoni, he still found a way to blame Sterling for his own death.
“Treat our police officers with the respect that their positions deserve, and I assure you that the men and women of the Baton Rouge Police Department will reciprocate that gesture,” Paul said. “Please stop resisting. Stop running. When a police officer gives you directions, listen.”
Philando Castile listened—and he’s dead.
Tamir Rice didn’t get a chance to listen before he was gunned down in a state-sanctioned drive-by.
What we won’t do is pretend that “listening” to police officers is all that’s needed for black people to make it home alive.
The respect their positions deserve?
What about the respect that Alton Sterling deserved?
He was attacked and held down by two police officers for absolutely no reason at all.
He was shot to death for no reason at all.
He should have been able to go home to his family; instead, he was fatally shot at point-blank range.
As The Root previously reported, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced Tuesday morning that Salamoni and Lake would not face any charges in Sterling’s state-sanctioned shooting death, claiming that the officers “acted in a reasonable and justifiable manner.”
There can be no mistake here: Firing Salamoni is not justice. It is not justice.
A person is fired for being consistently late.
A person is fired for stealing from their company.
A person is fired for inappropriate conduct.
Shooting a man to death for no other reason than that one can—and can get away with it—is not a routine HR issue; it is a crime against humanity—and it should be called the murder that it was.