Alton Sterling’s family sue city in father’s death


The children of a black man killed by a white police officer last year, sued the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday for being responsible of their father's death.

The lawsuit claims Alton Sterling's death was the result of racist behavior and excessive use of force. It seeks unspecified damages against the city, police officers involved in the shooting and the police department.

Officer Blane Salamoni shot Sterling six times during a struggle on the ground outside a convenience store where the 37-year-old was selling homemade CDs.

Sterling was in "agony" for minutes before he died "as a result of the vicious, negligent, and unreasonable fatal actions" of the officers, the lawsuit said.

The Justice Department recently decided not to file charges against Salamoni or officer Howie Lake, who helped wrestle Sterling to the ground but did not fire his weapon.

"The officers told Sterling to put his hands on the hood of a car and struggled with him when he didn't comply," according to the Justice Department. "There wasn't enough evidence to prove that Salamoni or Lake acted unreasonably and willfully."

The family suit cites two instances in which Baton Rouge police officers allegedly sent racist text messages to colleagues, including an apparent slur against demonstrators who protested Sterling's death.

The lawsuit comes a day after the mother of Philando Castile -- a black motorist killed by a white police officer one day after Sterling -- reached a $3 million settlement with the city of St. Anthony, Minnesota, in his death. The officer in that shooting was acquitted last week of all charges in that case.

Both shootings sparked nationwide protest that sometimes turned violent as the numbers grew of cases of black men shot and killed by mostly white police officers.

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