A makeshift memorial outside the Triple S Food Mart where Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police.

Jonathan Bachman / Reuters

The police officers who fatally shot a black man last year during a video recorded struggle outside a Louisiana convenience store will not face federal criminal charges, the Department of Justice has reportedly decided.

The decision not to charge the two white officers who shot Alton Sterling outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, last year was reported Tuesday by the Washington Post and other outlets. The Justice Department declined to comment on the reports to BuzzFeed News.

Attorneys representing Sterling's family said in a statement Tuesday the Justice Department had not notified them of the decision not to charge the officers.

Jonathan Bachman / Reuters

"We have been promised that we will meet in person with DOJ before any announcement is made," the attorneys said.

The shooting happened on July 5 after officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II responded to a 911 call about a man brandishing a gun and threatening someone in the parking lot of the Triple S Food Mart. When officers arrived, they found Sterling, 37, who had been selling CDs in the parking lot.

In video of the altercation, the two officers can be seen pinning Sterling to the ground. At one point, one of the officers can be heard yelling "he's got a gun." Seconds later, a series of shots can be heard.

According to a police report, the officers saw a gun in Sterling's pocket during the altercation. In the video, one of the officers can be seen removing an object from Sterling's pocket.

The confrontation between officers and Sterling was captured on video. (Warning: graphic content)

youtube.com

Sterling's death prompted days of protests. Less than two weeks later, a gunman killed three Baton Rouge police officers. The gunman, 29-year-old Gavin Long, was killed in a shootout with other officers.

Sterling's death also came a day before the killing of Philando Castile in Minnesota. Both incidents reinvigorated nationwide calls for police reform.

Though Salamoni and Lake will not face federal charges, there could still be other repercussions. The Baton Rouge Police Department is conducing an internal affairs investigation, which is pending until the federal inquiry wraps up, police spokesman Don Coppola, Jr, told BuzzFeed News.

Coppola added that both officers remain on administrative leave.

In addition, once the Justice Department finishes with the case it will be turned over to Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who will have the option of filing state charges.

LINK: Alton Sterling’s Death Highlights Economic Segregation In Baton Rouge



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