White Baton Rouge policeman fired over shooting of Alton Sterling

March 30 (Reuters) - A white Louisiana police officer was fired on Friday and a second suspended for the killing of Alton Sterling, a black man shot in a 2016 incident that inflamed the U.S. debate on racial bias in law enforcement, a police official said.

Baton Rouge officer Blane Salamoni, who shot Sterling in a confrontation outside a convenience store, was dismissed for violating department standards on use of force and for losing his temper, Police Chief Murphy Paul told a news conference.

The second officer, Howie Lake, was suspended for three days for failing to maintain his composure. The decisions followed an administrative review of the July 2016 shooting, and both officers plan to appeal, Paul said.

22 PHOTOS
Alton Sterling shooting case -- tributes, funeral and protests
See Gallery
Alton Sterling shooting case -- tributes, funeral and protests
Mourners pay their respects as they attend the funeral of Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
BATON ROUGE, LA -JULY 06: protesters gather in front of a mural painted on the wall of the convenience store where Alton Sterling was shot and killed, July 6, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sterling was shot by a police officer in front of the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, July 5, leading the Department of Justice to open a civil rights investigation. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
Na'Quincy, 10, son of Alton Sterling, looks back at his father's grave as he leaves Alton's burial, at the Mount Pilgrim Benevolent Society Cemetery with Na'Qunicy's grandmother (R), whose name was withheld in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Gerald Herbert/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATHStill images from video show Alton Sterling as he is shot dead by police during an incident captured on the mobile phone camera of shop owner Abdullah Muflahi in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 5, 2016. Video taken July 5, 2016. Abdullah Muflahi/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. TEMPLATE OUT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
BATON ROUGE, LA -JULY 06: Protesters block the intersection in front of the convenience store where Alton Sterling was shot and killed, July 6, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sterling was shot by a police officer in front of the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, July 5. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
Pall bearers carry the casket of Alton Sterling to his gravesite at the Mount Pilgrim Benevolent Society Cemetery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Gerald Herbert/Pool
Tia, a student, poses for a picture in front of a convenience store where Alton Sterling, 37, was killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Penney TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Pall bearers touch the casket of Alton Sterling after placing the casket at the internment site at the Mount Pilgrim Benevolent Society Cemetery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Gerald Herbert/Pool
A woman holds a sign reading "No justice, no peace," as she protests the killing of Alton Sterling by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Penney
Cameron Sterling is consoled after the funeral of his father Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A man protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A mourner is carried after the funeral of Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
People take part in a protest against the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile during a march through Manhattan, with the Empire State Building seen in the background, in New York July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Ornitz
A trike hearse carrying the casket of Alton Sterling arrives for burial at the Mount Pilgrim Benevolent Society Cemetery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Gerald Herbert/Pool
Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Alton Sterling near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sandra Sterling, aunt of Alton Sterling, mourns as she attends the funeral of Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
An inmate with the Louisiana Department of Corrections pays his respects during the funeral of Alton Sterling, who was shot dead by police, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A demonstrator holds a bible at the Triple S convenience store where Alton Sterling was shot dead by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 07: Demonstrators lock arms as they march from The White House to Capitol Hill on July 7, 2016 in Washington, DC. Protestors gathered in Washington to protest the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Curt Wechsler holds up a sign denouncing the killing of Philander Castile and Alton Sterling during a rally at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco, California on July 08, 2016. About 1000 people showed support during a rally and march along Market Street denouncing recent police shootings around the country. The gunman who opened fire on Dallas officers during a protest against US police brutality, leaving five dead and seven others wounded, told negotiators he wanted to kill white cops, the city's police chief said July 8. / AFP / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, UK - JULY 9: A protestor seen holding a placard with the words 'Black Lives Matter' at Windrush Square. Hundreds of Londoners convined in Brixton for a solidarity march following the shooting of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police in New Orleans and Minnesota respectively. The protest march on 9 July 2016 began at at Windrush Square in Brixton, South London. Todate about 509 people have been shot and killed by police in 2016 in America this year so far. (Photo by David Mbiyu/Corbis via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The steps are designed "to bring closure to a cloud that has been over our community for far too long," he said.

Sterling was among black men slain by police whose deaths sparked U.S. protests and helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement.

Police released four videos of the confrontation with Sterling outside a convenience store, where he was selling CDs.

Paul called the footage from a police dash camera, officers' body cameras, and a store surveillance camera "graphic and shocking to the conscience."

Salamoni's camera shows him yelling at Sterling with expletives to put his hands on a car. He points a gun at his Sterling's head and shouts he will shoot him if he moves.

While struggling with Sterling, both officers' cameras came loose. Lake's footage ends by showingSterling on his back in the parking lot, blood draining from his body.

Sterling, 37, was shot after a resident reported he had been threatened by a black man selling CDs. Police said Sterling was trying to pull a loaded gun out of his pocket when Salamoni opened fire.

Lawyers representing Sterling's five children applauded Salamoni's firing, but expressed disappointment that the officers would not face charges.

"The person who was out of control was Blane Salamoni," attorney Michael Adams said at a news conference. "The person who stood by and let him be out of control was Howie Lake. That’s a tragedy."

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said this week that Lake and Salamoni would not face charges since they had reason to believe that Sterling was armed and was resisting arrest.

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute the officers for civil rights violations in 2017, citing insufficient evidence.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler)

 

Read Full Story