BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A trial date has been set in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the children of Alton Sterling, a black man killed by a white police officer in Louisiana's capital city.

Attorneys for Sterling's children said Tuesday that trial in the civil lawsuit will begin April 20, 2020.

Sterling's family sued the city of Baton Rouge, its police department and former police chief and the two officers involved in the deadly encounter. The June 2017 lawsuit says the shooting fit a pattern of racist behavior and excessive force by police.

Officer Blane Salamoni shot Sterling six times during a July 2016 struggle outside a Baton Rouge convenience store. The Justice Department and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry's office ruled out criminal charges. Salamoni was fired by Baton Rouge's police chief.

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(The following story was written by Louisiana Radio Network)

The civil case involving the Alton Sterling shooting has uncovered a communication sent one year before Sterling’s shooting death by Officer Blane Salamoni where one of his superiors questioned the former Baton Rouge cop’s sanity. Sterling Family Attorney Chris Stewart says the revelation validates the family’s claim that Salamoni should have never been given a badge.

“The training officer called Blane Salamoni border line nuts because he got into a fight at the firing range with a fellow officer. Yet, he was allowed to have a gun and patrol the streets.”

Sterling’s attorneys say unless the city agrees to settle the case, they plan on doing a deep dive into communications between everyone in elected positions, from the city council to the mayor, to discover if anyone else knew about Salamoni’s history.

Attorney Michael Adams says the new information raises some serious questions about BRPD’s hiring and discipline process.

“Officer Salamoni was not well trained. He probably should not have been a police officer. He probably would not have passed the requirements of any of law enforcement agency in the country.”

Adams says his clients are pushing for a quick resolution to the civil case, and warns they’re ready to make life uncomfortable for city officials if they refuse a settlement.

“We call upon the city council, and we call upon the mayor to sit and listen to their lawyers, and join with us in saying it’s time for Baton Rouge to turn the chapter on his case.”

Blane Salamoni was cleared by both federal and state investigations of any criminal wrong doing in the shooting death of Alton Sterling in July of 2016.


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