The family of a Black man who was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, announced Friday it has settled a lawsuit against the city for $4.5 million, according to NBC News.
Alton Sterling was 37 when he was fatally shot by an officer in 2016. His family filed the suit the next year.
Lawyers for Sterling’s relatives said that the settlement would benefit his five children and involve “significant policy changes” for Baton Rouge officers.
“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,” the lawyers said in a statement.
Sharon Weston Broome, the mayor-president of the city, echoed those remarks, saying in a statement, “As a community, we must work together to implement changes in policy and in our community to ensure that no other families in Baton Rouge will endure this loss, trauma, or heartbreak.”
Officer Blane Salamoni was fired and Officer Howie Lake II was suspended after the death.
Early on July 5, 2016, someone called 911 and reported that a man in a red shirt outside a convenience store had a gun was acting in a threatening manner, authorities said. Sterling, wearing red, was selling CDs.
Surveillance footage shows Sterling pushing back against the two officers when they appear and attempt to pin him against a car. Lake attempts to shock Sterling with a Taser gun to no avail, and Salamoni then tackles Sterling to the ground.
Salamoni can be heard on the body cam audio yelling profanities at Sterling and then threatening to shoot him in the head.
Sterling appeared confused when he asked the officer, “What did I do, sir?”
After Sterling’s death, Salamoni can be heard panting, and his hands are seen holding his handgun. He begins going through Sterling’s pockets and calls him a “stupid motherf—–” twice.
The U.S. Justice Department and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry declined to pursue charges against the two officers.
Authorities later said Sterling had a pistol in his right pocket and unspecified drugs in his system.