Washington (AFP) – The officer who shot dead a black man in the southern US state of Louisiana has been fired, the Baton Rouge police chief told journalists Friday.
News of the disciplinary measures came days after the state’s attorney general said officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake — both of whom are white — would not face charges in the 2016 shooting death of Alton Sterling.
Salamoni was terminated effective immediately and Lake will be suspended for three days over his involvement in the incident, Chief Murphy Paul said.
Sterling, 37, was fatally shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 5, 2016 in a scuffle with police outside a convenience store where he had been selling CDs. The shooting was captured on cell phone video.
Paul said additional video footage of the incident would be released.
Salamoni’s firing comes as anger swells over another controversial police shooting that saw the death of an unarmed black man in California’s capital city of Sacramento.
The two cases have once again brought concerns over police misconduct to the fore — fatal shootings of African-American suspects in recent years have fueled a nationwide debate over race and criminal justice.
In explaining the decision not to press charges against the officers, Louisiana attorney general Jeff Landry said Sterling was armed, under the influence of illegal drugs and had resisted arrest efforts.
According to the Louisiana Justice Department report on the shooting, a loaded .38 caliber handgun was found in the right front pocket of Sterling’s pants.