Police arrest protesters at Alton Sterling memorial rally

Posted May 06, 2017

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Racial tensions in Baton Rouge were simmering when a black military veteran from Missouri ambushed and killed three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers and wounded three others before being shot dead on July 17.

"Given the totality of the circumstances - that the officers had been fighting with Sterling and had attempted less-than-lethal methods of control; that they knew Sterling had a weapon; that Sterling had reportedly brandished a gun at another person; and that Sterling was much larger and stronger than either officer - the Department can not prove either that the shots were unconstitutional or that they were willful", Admunson said.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: No, it doesn't.

"While the standards for federal charges are extremely high, standards under state law are broader and may be more easily applied to the facts of this case". The feds bring charges only if they see evidence of constitutional violation, a willful deprivation of someone's civil rights. "Sterling had a gun", the article states.

The Obama DOJ declined to bring charges against officers in numerous cases, such as the Michael Brown shooting and a case where Washington officers shot a man who threw rocks at them, NYT pointed out. In pleading guilty, Slager dropped his claim that he feared for his life.

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KASTE: Yeah, it's really tempting to compare these two cases as they're kind of coming up to our attention right now. What demands the greater share of our grief: the news that a black man, boy, woman or girl has just been unfairly killed by the police or the news that police who unfairly killed another black man, woman, boy or girl will get off scot-free? Both of them at the time of the shootings generated a lot of community anger. The key difference was Walter Scott was shot as he was running from the officer.

Two cellphone videos of Sterling's deadly struggle with two white officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, quickly spread on social media after the shooting. It appears that the kernel of the story may come from the videos taken from the officers' bodycams. Looking at this - and it's a 71-second incident that they looked at. That's the constitutional standard in the country. "You tell someone, I'm going to kill you "bitch" and then he does it". And sometimes these cases are called lawful but very bad.

And while Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he believes sweeping federal investigations of police departments can hurt officer morale and undermine crime-fighting, he has also promised his Justice Department will prosecute individual officers who break the law.

There's an academic at Bowling Green State University, Phil Stinson, who follows this.

Reed says she broke down crying and is "heartbroken", not only because of the decision but because the Justice Department did not notify the family first.

Show respect for your teammates and your coaches with what you say. He thought that showed a post-Ferguson increase in prosecutions. There's no gun, but prosecutors don't charge because they know it's enough if a cop can convincingly say he thought there was a gun. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article. Have Sessions' words had some impact on the willingness of prosecutors to pursue charges against officers? I mean as I said, this is a state matter.