WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it will not pursue federal criminal prosecution of Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II for the 2016 shooting death of Mr. Alton Sterling. Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, issued the following statement:
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made clear his opposition to pursuing civil rights investigations and prosecutions of law enforcement officers. Today’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against the officers involved in the shooting death of Alton Sterling must be viewed alongside the Attorney General’s recent decision to review consent decrees that address the need for policing reform at some of our nation’s most broken police departments. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s complete abandonment of his obligation to promote police accountability must be condemned.
“While Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry now commences with a state criminal investigation into this matter, we also encourage the state to address the need for systemic reform across the Baton Rouge Police Department. The family of Mr. Sterling deserves justice and the community deserves access to a police department that abides by constitutional policing practices.”
The Lawyers’ Committee provided pro bono legal support for residents exercising their constitutional right to engage in peaceful demonstration and protest following the tragic killing of Mr. Alton Sterling. Demonstrators and protestors calling for justice can contact 1-844-3RIGHTS (1-844-374-4487) should they face arrest.
About The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers’ Committee, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The Lawyers’ Committee celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 as it continued its quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment, voting, education and environmental justice.
For more information about the Lawyers’ Committee, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.