Wednesday, March 28, 2018

What accountability?

On July 5, 2016, Alton Sterling was murdered on the sidewalk in front of a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Everyone knew the name of the man who had shot and killed him.

Now, after 20 months and an exhaustive investigation by Louisiana Department of Justice (talk about your oxymorons), Blaine Salamoni will not be charged with killing Mr. Sterling.

Blaine Salamoni is a police officer with the Baton Rouge Police Department. On the evening of July 5, Officer Salamoni and his partner, Howie Lake II, were dispatched to the Triple S Food Mart where a person claimed that Mr. Sterling had threatened him with a gun. Within 20 seconds of arriving on the scene, Officer Salamoni pulled his weapon.

While Officer Howe subdued Mr. Sterling, Officer Salamoni fired six bullets into Mr. Sterling's body - killing him. The officers were cleared by the Department of Justice last July but were still waiting to find out if any charges would be filed against them.

State Attorney General Jeff Landry said that the process was a long one and that the decision was not made lightly.

Let's see. If the police witness a shooting or come across a scene shortly after a shooting, the person they suspect of the shooting is getting cuffed and driven to the county jail. The prosecutor will recommend that charges be filed and will tell all who will listen that he will let the criminal justice system run its course. But when that shooter is a cop then it takes months, if not years, to investigate all with the hope that some other event will distract public attention away from the shooting. Meanwhile the officer gets a paid vacation while the target of his ire is left lying on a slab in the morgue.

The process is designed to find a reason, any reason, NOT to charge the officer with a criminal offense. An ordinary citizen is rarely, if ever, given the same consideration.

Meanwhile the killling continues.

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