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‘Our Hope Is That These Policy Changes’: Alton Sterling’s Children Accept $4.5 Million Settlement Nearly Five Years After Their Father’s Death at the Hands of Louisiana Police

The family of Alton Sterling, a Black man who was killed by Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police in 2016, has reached a settlement nearly five years after the fatal shooting, WBRZ reported

As previously reported, the 37-year-old father of five was tackled, tasered and shot by former Baton Rouge officer Blane Salamoni six times in the chest on July 5, 2016, outside of a convenience store. At the time, Salamoni and officer Howie Lake were responding to a call about a man with a firearm selling CDs outside of the establishment. The incident was captured and uploaded online by a nearby witness Christoper LeDay, who subsequently was arrested and not allowed back to work, and the store owner, Abdullah Muflahi. 

The outlet reported that Sterling’s children accepted the $4.5 million settlement approved by Metro Council on Friday, June 11, after court records showed that Judge William Morvant dismissed their initial wrongful death lawsuit. In 2017, Sterling’s family sued both officers involved, the city of Baton Rouge, its police department, and former police chief, alleging the involved officers used excessive force and carried out racist behavior. They also alleged that poor training and inadequate police procedures led to Sterling’s death.

The attorneys representing the Sterling family released the following statement captured by WBRZ

“On behalf of the family of Alton Sterling, we are pleased to announce that we have reached a $4.5 million settlement with the city of Baton Rouge and dismissed our lawsuit against the city and others. 

This settlement, which was reached through hard work and collaboration between attorneys for Mr. Sterling’s family and the Baton Rouge City Council, will allow the city to heal and provide a pathway for Mr. Sterling’s children to be provided for financially. Additionally, we are grateful for the significant policy changes that have been and will be implemented by the city of Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Police Department following Mr. Sterling’s death.

Our hope is that these policy changes, which focus on de-escalation, providing verbal warnings prior to using deadly force and prohibiting officers from both using chokeholds and firing into moving vehicles, will ensure that no other family has to endure the trauma and heartbreak that Mr. Sterling’s family went through and will create a better future going forward for Baton Rouge residents.”

Sterling’s children will receive $1 million upfront, with the remaining money to be paid in increments over the next four years. Funds will be allocated from the East Baton Rouge Parish’s Insurance Reserve Fund, while the outstanding balance will come from the city’s annual operating budget.

Council Pro Tem LaMont Cole also spoke on the resolution stating, “This is a situation we’ve dealt with now for over five years, and I’m glad to see it coming to an end,” adding, “as we have extreme challenges in our right now around violent crimes, we need to be working toward solutions to address crime now versus crimes of past.”   

Mayor Broome offered his “continued sympathy and prayers” to the family of the victim “as they continue to navigate this loss.” As previously reported, Sterling’s death set incited protests across the nation. Salamoni ultimately lost his job while Lake was suspended. 

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