On 3rd April, the Department of Justice announced that the two cops involved in Alton Sterling’s shooting in July last year would not have federal charges pressed against them, leaving the man’s family in tears. They had arrived at the court holding hands and wearing t-shirts that read “human rights.”
Sterling, 37, was selling CD’s outside a convenience store when police received a call from someone that a black man wearing a red shirt and selling CD’s had threatened him with a gun. When officers arrived at the specified location, they confronted sterling in the parking lot of the Triple S Food mart and ordered him to get on the ground.
A body camera recorded the entire incident were the two officers were seen tackling the man to the pavement and pulling a gun on him. One officer pointed the gun at Sterling’s chest and three gunshots were heard, although the shooting itself wasn’t recorded since by then the camera had moved away from the scene.
According to the owner of the mart, Abdullah Muflahi, Sterling was armed but was not holding his gun or pointing it at anyone throughout the incident. The black man was also a permanent feature in the neighborhood where he sold CD’s. However, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, the officers responsible for Sterling’s death claimed they believed he was reaching for his gun when they opened fire.
Despite there being footage of the incident available, the DoJ has claimed that “the evidence cannot establish beyond a reasonable doubt that it did not appear to Officer Salamoni that Sterling was reaching for his pocket.”
“Nor could the Department prove that the officer's conduct was willful,” it added.
Here is what netizens have to say about the Department of Justices’ announcement.
When you have a white supremacist running— Don (@TheDonRiggs) May 4, 2017
The Justice Dept anyone of color will never get Justice! Want proof, here it is " alton sterling"
Let's be clear. #AltonSterling was murdered. Today we learned he won't receive justice. You should feel sick to your stomach cause of this.— Ugene's Politics (@UgenesPolitics) May 2, 2017
This #AltonSterling ruling should be wake up call for Black society.We have 0 Constitutional protections under the system of white supremacy— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) May 2, 2017
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman