BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Members of Together Baton Rouge say the federal government's decision to not press charges against the officers involved in the shooting of Alton Sterling is unfair.
"It denies the Sterling family the opportunity to make their case in court, to speak on behalf of Alton's rights," said Lee Wesley, member of Together BR.
The decision, they insist, is unfair not only to the Sterling family, but to the officers involved because they say it denies them the chance to have their names cleared, if they did nothing wrong.
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"Second, the decision denies the public from having all the facts in this case. It's as if there's no transparency. Where there is no transparency, there equates an air of secrecy and that air of secrecy prevents healing from taking place in our community," said Wesley.
The group is also pushing for reform within the Baton Rouge Police Department.
"Additional training on how to deescalate a situation. There needs to be an independent police monitor, not under the authority of the Chief of Police who can look into these types of situations, as well as a citizen's review committee," said Wesley.
Facing those challenges, Together BR is hopeful that with the desire for both change and improvement, Baton Rouge can show the country a new way. "Whether we want that challenge or not, we've got it. We think we've got the potential to be a model for the rest of the country if we can do it successfully," says lead organizer of Together BR, Broderick Bager.
Together BR also said in their luncheon just moments before the Department of Justice press conference, that since the feds have ended their involvement, it's the city and state's turn.
"If not now, when? If not, who? I think we're the us to make it happen, but we have to be vigilant, we have to be vocal, we have to be focused, we have to be clear, and we have to demand those things as citizens of EBR Parish, including a thorough investigation of the killing of Alton sterling, by our State Attorney General," said Wesley.
For more information on the organization, visit togetherbr.org.