Justice won’t be served in the shooting death of Alton Sterling.
It’s been reported that the Justice Department will NOT file charges against the officers involved in the death of the Baton Rouge man, whose videotaped shooting by police last summer sparked mass outrage.
According to sources familiar with the investigation, prosecutors have concluded there isn’t enough evidence to bring civil rights charges in the 37-year-old’s death.
This will mark the first case under Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the department has publicly declined to prosecute officers investigated for a possible wrongdoing in a high-profile case.
Of course, the department looks a lot different than it did at the time of Sterling’s death — which prompted days-long protests that lead to over 150 arrests. Then, Barack Obama spoke out on the controversial shooting with a vote of confidence in the Justice Department’s investigation.
But things are certainly different now, and Baton Rouge has been hearing rumors that the department would not bring charges since last week. As of Tuesday, Sterling’s family had not received word of any decision.
A spokesperson for the family’s attorneys said in a statement:
“We have not heard nor received an update and are unaware of any charges that may or may not be filed. We have not received word, nor has the family been given any notice of upcoming updates regarding this case.”
The city’ mayor said on Tuesday that she was “appalled” the department had closed the probe before formally notifying the Sterling family.
In a released statement, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome confirmed her office had not been told a decision either, writing:
“I am appalled that this news, whether true or false, has been disseminated without a formal decision being relayed to the Sterling family first. 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. As I’ve said before, when I know something, the people of Baton Rouge will know ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ and we will get through it together.”
While the Justice Department may have dropped the ball, the case isn’t over just yet — and will likely go to the State Attorney General’s Office for review. The state had held off on its investigation pending the results of the federal probe.
Alton’s family is reeling over the prospect of the officers getting off unpunished. Sandra Sterling, Alton’s aunt who raised him after his own mother died, said the reported decision was “like going back to the first day,” telling ABC News:
This decision will undoubtedly spark a public outcry that echos Sandra’s pain and frustration — and very well might lead to more protests over our broken criminal justice system. Though we have a feeling President Donald Trump will STILL remain silent on the matter.
Let’s hope the State Attorney General’s Office doesn’t fuck this up.
[Image via Facebook.]