Baton Rouge — A Louisiana “USA” police chief was on Friday fired. The white officer who fatally shot a black man during a struggle nearly two years ago, a killing that sparked off widespread protests.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul announced officer Blane Salamoni’s firing less than a week after Louisiana’s attorney general ruled out criminal charges in Alton Sterling’s July 2016 shooting death.
Mr Paul also suspended officer Howie Lake II, the other officer involved in the deadly confrontation, for three days. Lake was the officer who helped wrestle Sterling to the ground but did not fire his weapon that night.
Paul said he fired Salamoni for violating department policies on use of force and “command of temper.” He suspended Lake for violating only the latter policy.
Mr Paul said, “My decision was not based on politics nor emotions. It was based on the facts of the case.”
Both officers had remained on paid administrative leave since the shooting.
Camera footage and other videos of the officers’ deadly encounter with Sterling were released by the police . Two of the videos were cellphone videos of the incident and they quickly spread on social media after the shooting, but the new videos show the clearest and most complete picture of what happened that night.
An officer can be heard repeatedly using profanity as he shouts at Sterling and at one point threatening to shoot him in the head while the young man was asking what he has done wrong. Authorities have said Salamoni made that threat as he pointed a gun at Sterling.
Mr Sterling was killed in July 2016 just after the two officers responded to calls that someone was threatening people with a gun. The officers arrived to find Mr Sterling, 37, selling CDs outside of a convenience store but the whole thing went wrong.