The U.S. Department of Justice has decided not to bring charges against two Baton Rouge police officers in the killing of Alton Sterling, the Washington Post is reporting, citing sources close to the matter.
Sterling's death was captured on video in Baton Rouge last summer. The incident became a focal point of the continuing tension between law enforcement and segments of the black community.
Sterling was shot and killed last July 5 by Baton Rouge police officers who were responding to a call of a man who had apparently threatened someone with a gun outside a convenience store.
The officers were said to have used a stun gun during the confrontation to get Sterling to comply, but he resisted. A struggle ensued and two officers – Blake Salamoni and Howie Lake II -- apparently had Sterling restrained.
At least two people with cell phones captured the incident – all up until the fatal shot. At some point in the struggle, one of the officers shouted 'gun.' A short time later shots were fired and Sterling was dead.
Those taking the videos were visibly shaken.
When the videos hit social media the next day, they spread fast. Fewer than 24 hours later, there were press conferences, and the officers were put on administrative leave.
A weekend of protests began two days later. By most accounts, they were mostly peaceful, without the wanton destruction seen in other areas of conflict. Despite that, 200 people were arrested on various charges.
One day after the Sterling shooting, another man, Philando Castille, was shot and killed in Minnesota by an officer while inside of a car. The aftermath of that incident was broadcast live on Facebook. The two killings sparked protests in several cities around the country.
Two nights later, on Friday, July 8, a series of demonstrations happened across the country. In Dallas, 25-year-old Micah Johnson, a heavily-armed sniper, who had served in Afghanistan, began firing shots at officers, killing five and wounded several others.
A week and two days later, on Sunday, July 17, 29-year-old Gavin Long was seen carrying a weapon in Baton Rouge.
Police responded and he engaged in a shootout. With the element of surprise, Long was able to kill three officers and wound another three before he was shot and killed.
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