Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced today that he is declining to file state charges against Baton Rouge Police Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake for the shooting death of Alton Sterling. Monique Dixon, Deputy Director of Policy and Senior Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), offered the following statement:
“Police officers have once again been given the benefit of the doubt when accusing Black Americans of being dangerous, threatening, or violent. The Louisiana Attorney General’s statement and report seeks to sully Mr. Sterling’s name in support of the decision not to prosecute the officers who killed him.
“Now that neither Officer Salamoni nor Lake will be held accountable in a court of law at the state or federal level, the Baton Rouge Police Department must complete its administrative investigation of the officers and impose appropriate disciplinary actions, including termination.
“Many Baton Rouge residents may feel compelled to exercise their constitutional right to protest. We call on all officers to use great care in interacting with a community that is again feeling neglected by a system that should protect them, and to avoid a counterproductive and dangerous militarized response. Residents have a right to push for change in the city’s streets, and any lawful protest cannot be met with excessive force.
“Alton Sterling’s family and friends remain in our hearts as they are forced to relive the trauma of his death once more. We remain committed to meaningful policing reform in Baton Rouge and around the country to prevent any additional unnecessary loss of life at the hands of police.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.