Baton Rouge officials release statements with Sterling federal decision looming

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Several Baton Rouge area officials, including Mayor-president Sharon Weston Broome, have released statements in regards to the looming federal decision in the Alton Sterling police shooting case.

Broome says she has not received any notice about a timeline for an announcement of the federal decision in the Alton Sterling police shooting investigation. She encouraged the community to remain "vigilant."

The federal government will announce whether they believe there is sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to pursue charges against the officers involved. Multiple sources close to the investigation say they expect the decision to be handed down within the next several days, possibly on Tuesday, May 2.

RELATED STORY: Alton Sterling shooting investigation: A comprehensive timeline of events

Sterling, 37, was shot and killed by a Baton Rouge police officer last July after two officers were called to a convenience store to investigate a report of a man threatening another man with a gun. Video of the shooting appears to show one officer remove a gun from Sterling's pocket after the shooting.

"I would like to assure my fellow residents that I am in consistent communication with the Office of the Governor and other agencies, as well as community groups, about the pending US Department of Justice decision in the Alton Sterling case," Broome said. "At this time, I have not received any inclination or notice of a decision being made. Know that when I do receive the news, you will receive it as well. And, I will be right here with you all in this community that we proudly call home. I encourage you to stay vigilant and informed. All official statements and timely information will be made available via public briefings, the city-parish website, my official social media pages and reputable news outlets."

Congressman Cedric Richmond has also responded to circulating rumors by sending a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, stressing the need for transparency in the Sterling investigation. Richmond said:

I am following up because persistent rumors are circulating in the Baton Rouge area that local law enforcement has been informed of a specific timeline for an announcement. These rumors have risen to the point that local schools and other organizations are expending funds to prepare for a Tuesday announcement. The Department of Justice's failure to communicate with the community has created angst and nervousness, and I fear this carries the potential for increased tension between the community and law enforcement.

The letter to Sessions can be read here.

Representative C. Denise Marcelle also released a statement Friday evening, saying she will be holding a community meeting to address the upcoming decision. She will be joined by local pastors, Errol K. Domingue, Chris Huddleston, Gregory Cooper, Gus Spurlock, and Reginald Pitcher. Other community leaders and activists will also be at the meeting, including Councilman LaMont Cole, A.V. Mitchell, Keon Preston, The Nation of Islam, Arthur "Silky Slim" Reed, and Jasiri Basil. Sandra Sterling is also expected to be in attendance.

"Due to the recent rumors of a decision forthcoming by the DOJ, we decided to get out in front of this decision. It's always better to lead the people before potential problems occur and not allow the citizens to be caught off guard. We want the people of Baton Rouge to be mentally and emotionally prepared for any decision the United States Department of Justice renders. We intend to give instructions and directions with hopes of a peaceful outcome," said Marcelle.

"The citizens of Baton Rouge held this city together last summer despite the adversity and I'm prayerful that if needed, we can do so again. At a time like this, it is important for community leaders to handle their influence responsibly and for community members to know their power and use it wisely. We have the power to build or destroy, survive or thrive, as well as seek justice or make matters worse. #useyourpower," said Mitchell.

The community meeting will be held Saturday, April 29 at 2 p.m. at the Triple S Food Mart, located at 2112 N Foster Dr. Marcelle is inviting all citizens to attend.

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