April 13 (UPI) — Blane Salamoni, the Baton Rouge, La., police officer who fatally shot Alton Sterling, appealed his dismissal with a civil service board, his lawyer said Friday.
Police Chief Murphy Paul announced Salamoni’s firing in March along with disciplinary action against another officer, Howie Lae II. At the time, police also released footage from the body cameras the two officers wore the night of Sterling’s shooting.
The graphic videos of the 2016 shooting show Lake was the first to arrive at a convenience store after police received reports of a man matching Sterling’s description selling CDs and threatening another man with a gun. Salamoni arrived a short time later and immediately yelled at Sterling to “Don’t [expletive] move or I’ll shoot you in your [expletive] head.”
Sterling appears to struggle with the officers, who told him to put his hands on a vehicle parked in front of the store. They then shoot him twice with a Taser before Sterling falls to the ground. On the ground, Sterling appears to struggle again and one officer yells out that he’s found a gun while searching Sterling. Salamoni then fires six shots, killing Sterling.
“I take officer safety to heart, but our actions as law enforcement officers needs to reflect both the legal and community standards, as well as the policies and practices of our police department,” Paul said at the time of Salamoni’s firing, adding that “fear cannot be a driver” for officers’ decisions.
John McLindon, Salamoni’s lawyer, said he appealed to the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board, which oversees personnel issues within the police department. The appeal says the termination “was not made in good faith and for cause” and calls for a public hearing.
The civil service board is comprised of three civilians, a representative from the police department and a representative from the fire department.