Federal prosecutors will not bring criminal charges against either of the Baton Rouge, La., police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling during a confrontation outside a convenience store in July, says the Baton Rouge Advocate. The announcement, leaked by the U.S. Justice Department to the Washington Post, came as news to just about everyone in Louisiana, from the victim’s family to the governor. Baton Rouge officials had been waiting for the Justice Department to announce a decision — and had expected to be told beforehand so they could be prepared. The leak angered Sterling’s family, who called it an insult, and aggravated many local officials.
“I am appalled that this news, whether true or false, has been disseminated without a formal decision being relayed to the Sterling family first,” said Mayor Sharon Weston Broome. “Also, no one in my office or the governor’s office has been notified by the U.S. attorney’s office of a decision or timeline.” The fatal confrontation between Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, and two white officers occurred after midnight on July 5. The officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, responded to a 911 call from a man claiming he’d been threatened with a gun by someone who matched Sterling’s description. Two publicly released videos captured the officers using a Taser on him and wrestling him onto his back. One of the officers yelled “Gun!” and ordered Sterling not to move before Salamoni fired.