(AFP) – US officials say the two police officers involved in the 2016 fatal shooting of a black man in Louisiana will not face criminal charges.
Jeff Landry, the attorney general of the US state of Louisiana, made the announcement at a news conference on Tuesday after meeting with family members of Alton Sterling.
The official claimed that Baton Rouge officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake had good reason to believe 37-year-old Sterling was armed with a gun and was resisting arrest.
“Our investigation has concluded that officers Lake and Salamoni attempted to make a lawful arrest of Alton Sterling based upon probable cause,” Landry said at the news conference.
Landry claimed that the two officers had given verbal instructions and tried non-lethal methods to subdue the African American, who did not comply.
The US Department of Justice came to a similar conclusion last May, claiming that there was “insufficient evidence” to show Sterling’s civil rights had been violated.
Sterling, as video footage showed, was shot several times and killed after being tackled to the ground by the two white officers on July 5, 2016.
Sterling’s family expressed frustration after the Tuesday announcement, saying that the decision will send a killer back to the streets, in a reference to one of the officers involved in the case. The officers are currently on paid administrative leave.
Sterling’s death was one of a series of killings of black men by white officers that helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement and raised questions about racial bias in the US.
The use of excessive force by law enforcement has become the focus of national debate, particularly over high-profile killing of African Americans by white officers during the last several years.