After last Wednesday’s announcement that both officers involved in the July officer-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling would face no federal charges of violating Sterling’s civil rights, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said the case is now open to possible state violations.
Acting U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson announced the decision last Wednesday in a press conference.
“All of the prosecutors and agents involved in this case have come to the conclusion that insufficient evidence exists to charge either officer in this investigation,” Amundson announced Wednesday. “There are no winners here, and there are no victories for anybody. A man has died, a father, a nephew has died. My heart goes out to the family.”
Amundson said the case was then handed over to the state and Attorney General Jeff Landry.
“The USDOJ’s review of this matter was to determine violations of federal law: specifically, federal civil rights laws,” Landry said in a press release. “To date, this matter has not been investigated or reviewed for possible violations of the Louisiana Criminal Code.”
Landry explained this matter now needs to be investigated for any possible criminal violations found by the state, and “in order to ensure this matter is investigated by the agency with the most expertise in officer-involved shootings, I have directed the USDOJ to securely forward their investigative materials to the Louisiana State Police to conduct the state investigation.” Landry also said he has already assigned a prosecutor from the Louisiana Department of Justice to assist.
According to Landry, he chose the LSP on behalf of the state because of its team of investigators who have examined officer-involved shootings for Sheriff’s Officers and Police Departments across Louisiana.
“They have investigated these types of matters on a routine basis,” Landry said. “There is no other unit in the State with more experience or more expertise in the use of lethal force by law enforcement agents.
“Had the USDOJ not been tasked to lead this investigation, there is no doubt LSP would have led the investigation.
“It is important for the public to know that this matter will be handled by the most professional and proficient law enforcement use of force team in Louisiana.”
Landry explained that the matter was recused to the Attorney General’s office by the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney, and as of now it is considered an open investigation by the LSP.
Once the State Police and the assigned prosecutor have reviewed the materials from the federal investigation and have conducted any further investigation necessary, Landry’s office will meet to review the findings, evaluate the evidence and make the appropriate decision.
“A thorough and complete investigation could take a considerable amount of time,” Landry added. “As such, we ask for patience from the public and the press.”