3 Years After Alton Sterling's Shooting Death, Louisiana Police Chief Apologizes
By Theresa Braine
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul apologized to the city and the victim's family on Thursday for hiring Blane Salamoni, the officer who gunned down Alton Sterling in 2016.
"Baton Rouge, we are sorry," Paul said at a press conference, according to WAFB-TV. "I want to apologize to the family of Alton Sterling and his family because [Salamoni] never should have been hired. Although we obviously cannot change the past, it is clear we need to change the future."
Sterling, 37, was killed in the Louisiana capital July 2016 while selling DVDs outside a convenience store. Cops, thinking he had a gun, wrestled him to the ground, and Salamoni shot him six times.
Paul, who was sworn in this past January, fired Salamoni soon after an investigation determined that no criminal charges would be filed. That ruling sparked massive protests and further fueled the Black Lives Matter movement.
The announcement came as part of the department's settlement with Salamoni in his ongoing appeal against his March of 2018 firing. Salamoni has won the right to resign rather than be fired, and will not return to the department, Paul announced. He did not receive any back pay or other financial compensation, and all his claims are dismissed, attorney Leo Hamilton revealed to WAFB and other reporters.
Salamoni had been arrested on a domestic incident before he ever applied to the Baton Rouge Police Department -- an arrest he kept mum about while applying for the job.
"What became apparent from all the evidence presented to the chief was that Mr. Salamoni had a propensity for acting outside of the standards established by the BRPD for command of temper and use of force," Hamilton told CNN. He added that Salamoni often used unnecessary force and clashed with fellow officers.
"Mr. Salamoni's ill temperament and disregard of rules was evident before his employment with BRPD," he told WAFB.
"I stand behind our officers, men and women who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect our citizens," East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said in a statement to WAFB. "However, our department no longer has room for individuals who can't live up to its high standards or have shown a pattern of unprofessional behavior."
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