The Justice Department does not plan to bring charges in the fatal police shooting of an African-American man who was selling CDs outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, last year, two sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News.
Sources said prosecutors have concluded there isn’t enough evidence to bring civil rights charges in the July 5, 2016, death of Alton Sterling, 37, whose death was captured on video and sparked days of protests in Louisiana’s second-biggest city. Sterling was shot by police during a struggle as he was on the ground after being tackled by officers. Authorities said they were looking for a man matching Sterling’s description who had threatened someone with a gun, and that Sterling was armed.
The fatal shooting occurred amid elevated tensions nationwide over the use of deadly police force against black people. More than 150 people were arrested in three days of protests over the shooting. Rumors that the Justice Department would not bring charges have been circulating in Baton Rouge since last week.
An attorney for Sterling’s family, Justin Bamberg, said Tuesday they were not aware of any Justice Department decision. The city’s mayor said Tuesday that she was “appalled” the Sterling family had not been told, and that her office has not been notified that a decision had been made.