Alton Sterling’s household is pushing for $ 2.5 million in direction of a false dying settlement
The family of a man who was shot dead by a police officer are trying to be content with at least half of their original proposal.
Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was killed by Baton Rouge police outside the Triple S Food Mart in 2016. Earlier this year, the East Baton Rouge Metro Council rejected a $ 5 million settlement in an unlawful death trial for Sterling’s family. Now lawyers are hoping to be satisfied with half the amount originally proposed – $ 2.5 million.
Sterling was fatally shot and killed by a White Baton Rouge police officer outside the supermarket on July 5, 2016. The incident began after a 911 operator reported that a man in a red T-shirt was selling CDs outside the store and was armed. Two responding officers approached Sterling in the parking lot and tried to “subdue” him, according to the Justice Department report. Officer Blane Salamoni then shot Sterling when he reportedly saw his weapon grabbed. Two telephone videos were recorded by passers-by and, according to court documents, contain graphic recordings of the events. The videos were released publicly and viralized online, sparking widespread protests.
In 2017, the family filed a lawsuit alleging the incident was racially motivated and demonstrating the use of excessive violence among Baton Rouge police officers. Court documentation alleged Salamoni had violated Sterling’s constitutional rights.
Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash
However, the Justice Department declined to prosecute, citing: “After an in-depth investigation into this tragic event, the Justice Department prosecutors have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to unequivocally establish that officers Salamoni and Lake were deliberate violated Sterling’s civil rights. Given all of the circumstances – that the officers had fought with Sterling and tried less than fatal methods of control; that they knew Sterling had a gun; that Sterling allegedly aimed a gun at another person; and that Sterling was much taller and stronger than either officer – the division can neither prove that the gunfire was unconstitutional nor that it was deliberate. “
Republican Judge William Morvant recently denied a motion to summarize the verdict and a trial date has been tentatively set for March 2021. If the $ 2.5 million offer is accepted, it will be split among Sterling’s five children pending approval by Morvant, as they are still minors.
Sterling family lawyer Brandon DeCuir said of the original settlement proposal, “With the amount of money I’ve spent over the past few weeks, the number you throw around is unlikely to make it.” However, since that statement, Morvant has issued a gag order so DeCuir cannot share his feelings about halving the amount.
Some councilors believe that a lawsuit is the best way to get the public to know all of the details of that day and all of the evidence in the case, especially after the DOJ refused to interfere. City lawyers previously said they would prefer a settlement, despite saying $ 5 million was “excessive”. At least six current seats on the Metro Council will be moved in January, two months before the negotiation date. Hence, it is difficult to determine whether it is best to wait and see.
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