The Justice Department has decided not to bring charges against the officers involved in the death of Alton Sterling, whose videotaped shooting by police in Baton Rouge last summer prompted unrest across the city, and is planning to reveal in the next 24 hours that it has closed the probe, according to four people familiar with the matter.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Sterling family had yet to be informed by the Justice Department of the decision, and it is unclear how and when the department will announce its findings.
But sources tell BW that 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.
“We have not heard nor received an update and are unaware of any charges that may or may not be filed,” said Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the Sterling family’s attorneys. “We have not received word, nor has the family been given any notice of upcoming updates regarding this case.”
The case will be the first time under Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the department has publicly declined to prosecute officers investigated for possible wrongdoing in a high-profile case, and officials in Baton Rouge have been girding for a possible reaction there.
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.
“I am appalled that this news, whether true or false, has been disseminated without a formal decision being relayed to the Sterling family first. Also, no one in my office or the governor’s office has been notified by the U.S. Attorney’s office of a decision or timeline,” Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said in a statement.
“As I’ve said before, when I know something, the people of Baton Rouge will know — and we will get through it together,” she said.
The Sterling family said they are withholding comment until an announcement is made.
The case will now likely go to the State Attorney General’s Office. The state had held off on its investigation pending the conclusion of the federal investigation.