BATON ROUGE, La. ― After the Department of Justice announced it would not press charges against two white police officers who killed Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, the victim’s family is still hoping for justice.
On Wednesday, the Justice Department officially announced charges would not come for Baton Rouge police officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II a day after multiple media outlets reported the decision had been reached.
Sterling, a father of five, was gunned down in July 2016 as officers investigated reports of a man with a gun. Sterling, whose death was captured on video, was selling CDs in front of a convenience store when he was confronted by the police.
Speaking under a highway overpass as rain pummeled the city Wednesday, members of Sterling’s family demanded justice.
“I’m just asking everybody that you just step forward so we can continue to get justice, because it can’t stop right here,” Quinyetta McMillan, the mother of Sterling’s 16-year-old son, Cameron, said at the news conference. “We deserve it, if nobody else, we deserve it.”
Despite the DOJ decision, there’s still hope for a legal remedy for Sterling’s family. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is considering whether to bring state charges.
“So, Jeff Landry, please open up your heart, your eyes, and give us the justice that we deserve,” McMillan said.
Sterling’s aunt, Sandra, cried as she spoke of her nephew.
“Alton was human,” Sandra Sterling said. “He’s no longer here, but his voice still will be heard through us. So stay behind us, because we love Alton. We don’t want this to end. Remember his name,” she said.
In an interview with WBRZ on Tuesday, Sandra Sterling said the decision not to file federal charges “hurts so bad.”
Sterling’s son Cameron will now have to help look after his extended family of 11 brothers and sisters without his father’s help.
“I have my brothers and sisters to look after,” Cameron said at the news conference Wednesday. “Eleven of them. I have to look after every last one of them because, guess what? I’m that next legacy. I’m here after my dad. My dad is now long gone, so now I’m here. I’m that legacy and I have to look after those kids.”