Another Black body, another bag…
Back in 2016, Alton Sterling was killed by Baton Rouge police officers after someone called 911 to report that a man in a red shirt was waving a gun threateningly. Sterling was not the suspect in question, however, he was wearing a red shirt while selling CDs in front of the Triple S convenience store. Cops show up and the rest is another example of bloody history.
Sterling’s killing was one of many state-sanctioned deaths that infuriated the Black community before America at large had the decency to care. Yesterday, NBCNews reported that Alton Sterling’s family has settled a wrongful death lawsuit that they filed against the city of Baton Rouge for the amount of $4.5 million. Along with the money, the settlement includes significant changes to department policy that will hopefully prevent this type of unwarranted killing to ever happen again.
“Our hope is that these policy changes, which focus on de-escalation, providing verbal warnings prior to using deadly force and prohibiting officers from both using chokeholds and firing into moving vehicles, will ensure that no other family has to endure the trauma and heartbreak that Mr. Sterling’s family went through and will create a better future going forward for Baton Rouge residents,” the lawyers said in a statement.
Officers Blane Salamoni and Officer Howie Lake II were fired and suspended, respectively, but neither would face criminal charges for the killing.
We won’t hold our breath for those “significant changes” but we certainly hope that no family has to accept money from another city as a mea culpa for an unjustly killed loved one.
Rest in peace, Alton Sterling.