BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The police chief in Louisiana's capital says it would be improper and premature for him to fire a white officer who shot and killed a black man last summer while the deadly encounter remains under criminal investigation.

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Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome called on Police Chief Carl Dabadie to fire Officer Blane Salamoni, who fatally shot 37-year-old Alton Sterling during a struggle outside a convenience store on July 5, 2016. The chief responded in a letter dated May 26, urging the mayor to "let the criminal process conclude."

Salamoni and a second officer who tried to subdue Sterling remain on paid administrative leave.

The Justice Department announced it won't charge either officer, but Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry's office is investigating whether state charges are warranted.