Convictions barred Alton Sterling from having a gun

Alton Sterling (Source: Facebook)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – The Latest on the fatal police shooting of a black man in Baton Rouge. (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

Court records indicate the man who was killed during an altercation with two Baton Rouge police officers couldn’t have legally had a gun at the time of the shooting because he was a convicted felon.

Alton Sterling was killed early Tuesday. Police said he was armed and an eyewitness said he saw an officer pull a gun out of Sterling’s pocket.

Sterling pleaded guilty in 2011 to being a felon in possession of a firearm and illegally carrying weapons. A judge in Baton Rouge sentenced him to five years in prison, giving him credit for time served.

Court records show Sterling also was arrested in May 2009 after an officer confronted him outside a store where he was selling CDs. It was a different store than the one where he was killed.

A police report says Sterling tried to reach into his pocket when the officer was frisking him, ignored the officer’s commands to keep his hands on a police vehicle and turned to run away.

The report says the officer grabbed Sterling by the back of his shirt and pushed him to the ground and gave loud verbal commands to stop resisting.

The report says a gun fell from Sterling’s waistband while the officer was “wrestling” with him on the ground. Other officers arrived and helped arrest him.

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One officer involved in the video-recorded shooting death of Alton Sterling has deep ties to Baton Rouge law enforcement.

Officer Blane Salamoni’s father, Noel Salamoni, is a Baton Rouge police captain and one of six commanders directly under Chief Carl Dabadie. Once president of the local police union, Noel Salamoni was a finalist for chief in 2013, losing out to Dabadie.

His mother, Melissa Salamoni, retired in June as a Baton Rouge police captain after 32 years on the force. She was hailed on the department’s Facebook page as a trailblazer, commanding multiple investigative units and serving as the first woman chief of staff. She collected 20 career commendations.

Acadian Ambulance, a private ambulance company, named Blane Salamoni’s wife, Allison Salamoni, as 2016 emergency medical technician of the year in Louisiana.

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A black female police officer in suburban Cleveland is getting a lot of attention after posting a video on Facebook with her reaction to Tuesday’s fatal police shooting of a black man in Louisiana.

Nakia Jones says she was so upset after watching the video-recorded killing in Baton Rouge that she wanted to quit the police force in Warrensville Heights.

She says she became a police officer to make a difference in people’s lives and that anyone who’s afraid of black people should take off their uniform.

Her impassioned reaction has been watched more than 3 million times since it was posted to her Facebook page Wednesday.

She says white officers who are racist have no business working in a black community.

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2:45 p.m.

A spokesman for the Louisiana governor says the Justice Department will look into not only whether civil rights were violated in the death of Alton Sterling, but also whether there were any other violations of state and federal law.

Richard Carbo said Thursday that the U.S. attorney’s office in Baton Rouge is conducting “all aspects of the investigation.”

Sterling was shot and killed early Tuesday during an altercation with two Baton Rouge police officers.

Carbo said if the U.S. attorney’s office finds any violation of state laws and believes the officers should be charged with battery, assault or murder, it will refer that back to the local district attorney for prosecution.

He said: “They won’t prosecute it, but they’ll do the investigating side of it.”

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Police documents say four previous “use of force” complaints were lodged against the two white officers involved in the video-recorded shooting death of a black man. The officers were cleared in all of them.

The complaints included three black men and a black juvenile. The documents were released Thursday, a day after the Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling.

The officers are Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II. Each had two prior “use of force” complaints.

Lake was involved in a police shooting in December 2014. He told detectives that he fired six or seven times when a black man refused to drop his gun, threatened to kill himself and pointed his revolver at officers. The man was wounded.

Lake also injured a combative black juvenile when they went to the ground during a struggle on April 19, 2014.

Salamoni’s complaints involved punching a black man on Aug. 5, 2015, when he tried to grab the officer’s stun gun.

He was also in a vehicle pursuit on June 17, 2015, in which a black man was injured when he crashed into a retaining wall.

Separately, Salamoni was issued a letter of caution for his involvement in a “preventable crash” on June 13, 2012.

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2:20 p.m.

The lawyers for the 15-year-old son of a Louisiana man shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge are blaming police for overly aggressive behavior.

At a news conference held just feet away from where Alton Sterling was killed outside a convenience store, Chris Stewart called the actions of a police officer who shot Sterling “heinous.”

Stewart said the killing should never have happened and that the two officers should have “de-escalated” the situation instead of ratcheting it up.

Stewart is an Atlanta-based lawyer who has handled high-profile criminal cases before. He is representing Cameron Sterling and his mother, Quinyetta McMillon.

Stewart said it was likely the family would file a lawsuit, and added that he and his team would conduct a thorough analysis of police conduct in Baton Rouge.

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President Barack Obama says the deadly shootings by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota are not isolated incidents. He says the U.S. has a “serious problem.”

Obama is reacting to the pair of deaths in a Facebook post. He says all Americans should be “deeply troubled.”

Obama says the incidents are symptoms of broader challenges in the criminal justice system. He says they reflect racial disparities that persist “year after year.” Obama says that’s created a lack of trust between law enforcement and their communities.

Obama says he’s limited in what he can say about the cases. But he says he’s “encouraged” the U.S. Justice Department is conducting a civil rights investigation into the Louisiana shooting.

Obama also says the U.S. must show respect and appreciation for police.

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12:40 p.m.

Community and faith-based leaders called on the Justice Department to broaden the scope of its investigation into the police killing of a 37-year-old black man.

The group called Together Baton Rouge said it was concerned that federal officials would only conduct a civil rights investigation without looking at whether state criminal laws were violated.

They gave examples of possible state charges to be investigated as battery, assault with a deadly weapon and negligent homicide.

State and local officials have said they have asked the Department of Justice to investigate and described them as the lead investigating agency.

The Justice Department has said it opened a civil rights investigation.

It’s not clear if anyone is investigating possible violation of state law. Baton Rouge leaders said Wednesday the police department would do an internal investigation but said they would defer to the federal government for the main investigation.

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12:20 p.m.

The two white police officers who were involved in the shooting death of a black man had five complaints made against them and were cleared in all but one.

Records made available to the media on Thursday show that officer Blane Salamoni had three complaints made against him and was issued a letter of caution for his involvement in a “preventable crash” on June 13, 2012. The other two complaints involved use of force and a vehicle pursuit.

Lake had two use of force complaints and was exonerated in both. One included a police shooting in December 2014. Court documents show Lake told detectives that he fired six or seven times when a suspect refused to drop his gun, threatened to kill himself and pointed his revolver at officers. The man was wounded by police.

The other complaint happened Jan. 28, 2015.

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11:25 a.m.

The White House says President Barack Obama is “deeply disturbed” by police shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says Obama is following the situations closely. But he tells reporters aboard Air Force One that the White House can’t comment more specifically while the cases are being investigated.

In the Louisiana case, the federal Justice Department is conducting a civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting of a black man by two white police officers.

Earnest noted the task force on policing that Obama established to improve ties and trust between police and law enforcement. He’s urging local policing agencies to implement the Justice Department’s recommendations.

Earnest spoke as Obama was flying to Poland for a NATO summit.

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10:10 a.m.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is attending a vigil and meeting with federal officials for an update on the investigation into the police shooting death of a Baton Rouge man.

The governor’s office said Edwards will attend a 6 p.m. prayer vigil with community and faith leaders as well as other elected officials.

Earlier in the day, he’s expected to meet with the U.S. attorney’s office, the FBI and state police to get an update on the investigation into the shooting death of Alton Sterling.

Sterling, who is black, was shot and killed Tuesday by two white Baton Rouge police officers.

The video-recorded killing sparked anger and protests among the black community.

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7:05 a.m.

Police are investigating a Washington, D.C., firefighter after he made inflammatory posts on Facebook in response to the fatal police shooting of a 37-year-old black man in Louisiana.

WTTG-TV (http://bit.ly/29qksr3 ) reports firefighter Norman Brooks made the posts Wednesday. In one, Brooks says “the citizens should take the law in their own hands and target racist cops.”

Washington police learned of the posts and reported them to the District of Columbia Fire and EMS Department. The posts have since been removed.

Brooks says he wrote the posts after learning of the death of Alton Sterling, who died after being shot by Baton Rouge police officers. He says he doesn’t condone violence, but is tired of the lack of punishment for officers in police shootings.

Fire and EMS spokesman Doug Buchanan says Brooks has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of police and internal investigations.

___

2 a.m.

Hundreds of mourners, friends and family members of a black man killed by police in Louisiana gathered at the scene of the shooting for a second night of protest, prayer and remembrance.

Many carried signs Wednesday night to express their anger and demand for justice, blocking streets near the Baton Rouge convenience store where 37-year-old Alton Sterling was killed.

Sandra Augustus, an aunt who helped raise Sterling after his mother died, spoke to the crowds with a broken voice, tearful. She said a second video that emerged Wednesday showing the moments before her nephew was shot left her angry.

Still, she pleaded for protesters and those gathered not to allow the vigil to be marred by violence.

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards asked the U.S. Justice Department to lead a civil rights investigation into the killing.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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