The Latest: Lawyer for officer says client relieved


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on the shooting death of a black man involving two white police officers in Baton Rouge (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

A lawyer for the white Baton Rouge police officer who shot and killed a black man during a struggle last summer says his client is relieved the Justice Department isn’t charging him with a federal crime.

John McLindon, Blane Salamoni’s attorney, told The Associated Press he spoke to the officer Wednesday after the Justice Department announced its decision in the investigation of Alton Sterling’s fatal shooting on July 5. He says the “stress of the unknown” has been hard on Salamoni and his family while they wait for the investigation to conclude.

McLindon says he can’t discuss the evidence in the case due to a pending state investigation. But he expressed confidence state authorities also will rule out criminal charges against Salamoni and a second white police officer involved in the deadly confrontation.

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Louisiana’s governor called it disrespectful to the family of a black man fatally shot by police to learn the outcome of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation from the media.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the leaked information that the Justice Department wouldn’t pursue civil rights charges against the Baton Rouge police officers who fatally shot Alton Sterling also jeopardized carefully-devised public safety plans prepared for the announcement.

National media outlets, including The Associated Press, reported the decision through anonymous sources a day ahead of Wednesday’s official announcement.

Baton Rouge mayor Sharon Weston Broome called the leaks appalling. She said no one locally “was satisfied with the way this decision rolled out.”

Both officials stopped short of blaming the Justice Department, though Edwards said he hoped the agency investigates the leaks.

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2:50 p.m.

A lawyer for two of Alton Sterling’s sons says the white officer who later shot Sterling pointed a gun at the black man’s head and threatened to shoot him before they struggled.

Attorney Chris Stewart told reporters Wednesday that he was told in a meeting with Department of Justice officials that Baton Rouge Police Officer Blane Salamoni walked up to Sterling, pointed a gun to his head and said “I’m going to shoot you, bitch.”

Stewart provided that account shortly after a news conference where acting U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson explained the decision not to prosecute Salamoni or the other officer involved, Howie Lake II.

Amundson identified Salamoni as the officer who fatally shot Sterling during the July 5 incident.

Amundson did not mention the alleged threat and did not take questions.

John McLindon, Salamoni’s lawyer, said he could not comment on the allegations.

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1:45 p.m.

A U.S. attorney says there is not enough evidence to pursue federal charges against two white officers in the police shooting death of a black man in Baton Rouge.

U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson said Wednesday that the investigation into the death of Alton Sterling couldn’t prove that the officers acted unreasonably and willfully.

Amundson says the officers’ encounter with Sterling happened in about 90 seconds. He says the investigation found that an officer shot Sterling three times after saying that Sterling was reaching for a gun in his pocket.

The prosecutor says Officer Blane Salamoni fired three more shots into Sterling’s back when he began to sit up and move.

The prosecutor says the officers recovered a loaded revolver from Sterling’s pocket. As part of the investigation, prosecutors asked two independent use-of-force experts to review the case. They criticized the officers’ techniques but said they were not excessive.

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11:50 a.m.

The family of a black man who was shot to death by police in Baton Rouge is meeting with federal prosecutors and the FBI.

Alton Sterling’s family plans to speak to the media after the meeting Wednesday. A person familiar with the Justice Department’s decision told The Associated Press that federal officials do not plan to charge two white officers in the death of Sterling, who was shot during a struggle in July. The person was not authorized to talk publicly about the decision and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The Justice Department and FBI also plan a news conference, and the governor and Baton Rouge mayor will also talk to the media Tuesday.

(Corrects day of meeting to Wednesday, not Tuesday)

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10:30 a.m.

Attorneys with the Justice Department say they plan an afternoon news conference to discuss their investigation into the fatal police shooting of a black man by two white officers in Baton Rouge.

A person familiar with the Justice Department’s decision told The Associated Press that federal officials do not plan to charge the officers in the death of Alton Sterling, who was shot during a struggle in July. The person was not authorized to talk publicly about the decision and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The Department of Justice said its civil rights division; acting U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson and the FBI will be part of the news conference at the federal courthouse in Baton Rouge at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

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8:30 a.m.

Officials say Louisiana’s governor has been notified that the U.S. Department of Justice will officially announce its decision about whether to bring charges against two white officers who fatally shot a black man in Baton Rouge.

A person familiar with the Justice Department’s decision on Tuesday told The Associated Press the agency will not charge the officers. The person was not authorized to talk publicly about the decision and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The governor’s office said the decision will be announced officially on Wednesday, but did not know the exact time.

Alton Sterling was shot and killed during a struggle with the two officers in July.

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2:50 a.m.

The Justice Department’s decision not to charge two white Baton Rouge police officers in the shooting death of a black man may not be the final legal chapter in the case.

The department’s decision doesn’t preclude state authorities from conducting their own investigation of Alton Sterling’s fatal shooting last summer and pursuing their own criminal charges in the case.

A person familiar with the Justice Department’s decision disclosed it to The Associated Press on Tuesday. The person was not authorized to talk publicly about the decision and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Dozens of people gathered Tuesday outside the store where Sterling was shot and killed during a struggle with the two officers in July. They held hands and prayed before urging state authorities to take action.