Louisiana police officer fired and another suspended after Alton Sterling shooting

Louisiana police officer fired and another suspended after Alton Sterling shooting

A Louisiana police chief has fired the white officer who fatally shot a black man during a struggle outside a store nearly two years ago.

Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul announced officer Blane Salamoni's firing less than a week after Louisiana's attorney general ruled out criminal charges in Alton Sterling's July 2016 shooting death.

The death of Mr Sterling set off widespread protests.

Mr Paul also suspended officer Howie Lake II, the other officer involved in the deadly confrontation, for three days.

He said he fired Mr Salamoni for violating department policies on use of force and "command of temper." He suspended Mr Lake for violating only the latter policy as the officer helped wrestle Mr Sterling to the ground but did not fire his weapon that night.

"My decision was not based on politics," Mr Paul said during a news conference. "It was not based on emotions. It was based on the facts of the case."

Both officers had remained on paid administrative leave since the shooting.

Police also released body camera footage and other videos of the officers' deadly encounter with Mr Sterling.

Two mobile phone videos of the incident quickly spread on social media after the shooting, but the new videos show the clearest and most complete picture of what happened that night.

In the body camera footage of the encounter, an officer can be heard repeatedly using profanity as he shouts at Mr Sterling and at one point threatens to shoot him in the head as Mr Sterling asks what he did.

Authorities have said Mr Salamoni made that threat as he pointed a gun at Mr Sterling.

When Mr Sterling complains that the officers are hurting him, one of the officers says to use a Taser on him and an electric buzzing can be heard. The officer believed to be Mr Salamoni then runs at Mr Sterling, tackling him as the camera footage blurs with motion.

Someone yells "he's got a gun," then gunshots ring out.

L. Chris Stewart, a lawyer representing two of Sterling's five children, said the newly released videos show officer Salamoni attacked Mr Sterling without provocation "like a wild dog."

"The most obvious thing that stands out is Alton wasn't fighting back at all," Stewart said. "He's trying to defuse it the whole time."

Mr Salamoni shot Mr Sterling six times during the struggle outside the Triple S Food Mart, where the 37-year-old black man was selling homemade CDs. After the shooting - as Mr Sterling lies on the ground - an officer can be heard using profanity to say Mr Sterling was stupid.

Mr Salamoni's lawyer, John McLindon, said he will appeal the officer's firing to a civil service board.

- Press Association and Digital Desk

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