A lawyer for the Baton Rouge police officer who shot and killed Alton Sterling 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 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 police officer involved in the deadly confrontation.
However, during a press conference Wednesday afternoon, lawyers for the family of Alton Sterling singled Salamoni action's out, claiming the officer instigated the incident.
"We learned Ofc. Salamoni walked up to Alton Sterling, and put a gun to his head and said, 'I'll kill you, bitch,'" said Attorney Chris Stewart. "You heard me correctly. We heard from (the DOJ) that Officer Salamoni kept instigating this situation. The Attorney General has a phenomenal case because no police officer should conduct themselves like that."
Lawyers for the family encouraged Attorney General Jeff Landry to pursue charges against Salamoni.
"We don't think he has a choice but to bring charges against these officers," Michael Adams, another lawyer for the Sterling family. " At a minimum, these officers should be disciplined and fired. At a maximum, they should be locked up and sent to state prison."
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