On Tuesday, Alton Sterling‘s family filed a wrongful death suit against the city and police of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Sterling’s five children are seeking unspecified damages from the city, Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. and the police department, and the two officers involved in the shooting.
“This is not about whether the officers should go to jail. It’s about resolving this case for the children who no longer have a father because proper procedures weren’t followed,” L. Chris Stewart, one of the children’s lawyers, said at a news conference.
The lawsuit, which comprises 26 pages, claims that Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake breached protocol and used excessive force when they shot Sterling while responding to reports at a convenience store that a resident had been threatened by a Black man who was selling CDs. Police claimed that Sterling was moving to pull a gun out of his pocket when he was shot. At the time of the shooting, Baton Rouge did not have a written policy on the use of force and de-escalation.
The lawsuit also claims that Baton Rouge has a “longstanding pervasive policy of tolerating racist behavior by some of its officers.”