BATON ROUGE – The Baton Rouge community is reacting to news that the Department of Justice may not charge officers in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling.
During a vigil Tuesday night at the Triple S Food Mart, the spot where Sterling was killed, many people voiced their disappointment in the decision.
Close to 100 people, including Sterling's son and aunt, gathered outside the store demanding answers from the DOJ.
"I hear them keep saying we're prepared for this," said Alton's aunt Vera Sterling, referring to the release of the DOJ's decision. "What are you preparing for? You should've been prepared when they were killing my nephew! It's been almost a year and we're still suffering like it was yesterday."
In July, Sterling was shot and killed in front of the store. Video showed two Baton Rouge police officers in a scuffle with Sterling that ended with all of them on the ground and an officer shooting Sterling to death.
"It's crazy, it's like we waited all this time for nothing," said aunt Sandra Sterling. "As we were going through the process I kept asking them, well what happens if they don’t come back with a decision. They said, 'Well it’ll be worth the wait.' No, it’s not worth the wait. All this was for nothing."
"I actually saw Alton maybe about two weeks before this happened," said Baton Rouge resident Shanekia Gray. "He was just really enthusiastic."
Gray said the news from the Washington Post, which broke the DOJ's rumored decision, is unsettling.
"I feel like everybody should be raising eyebrows," she said. "But at the same time, I mean, it has to start here first."
Reheejah Flowers, a community activist, led the vigil. She said although the news was disappointing, they're not giving up.
"We still have state charges that we can take on," she said. "We can demand that these officers be fired and that a special prosecutor take on state charges."
Residents said Sterling's death is not just an issue for African-Americans, but something all Americans need to be worried about.
"One is realizing that as a White person, I have a voice and like, I have privileges," said Grace Moody. "I want to use whatever I have to help people that don't have the same voice that I do."
No matter the decision, activists want there to be something positive in the outcome of Sterling's death.
"I think a lot of people who are in the community just want to know that there's hope," said Flowers. "And I hope that we instilled that tonight."
The DOJ has not officially released its decision. They said it could be a few days before their findings are released.
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