BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The attorney representing Baton Rouge Police officer, Blane Salamoni, says he expects his client will be fired by BRPD by the end of the week.
"I think they've already made up their mind. They're going to terminate him," said attorney, John McLindon.
McLindon says if that happens, Salamoni will appeal the decision and fight to keep his job.
The Baton Rouge Police Department is conducting an internal affairs investigation into the July 2016 shooting of Alton Sterling by Officer Salamoni. The department says it could announce a decision by Friday. "We will release all information allowed by our public records laws," said BRPD Chief Murphy Paul.
WAFB's Scottie Hunter asked McLindon if he felt like the release of the material was good or bad, and whether he thought it might hurt his client in the hearing. "I don't see it as good or bad. I don't like the saying, but it is what it is. People can watch it and judge it, but I'd ask people to stand in the shoes of the police officer."
Salamoni was one of two officers on the scene who struggled with Sterling while trying to arrest him. The other officer is Howie Lake II. Investigators say Salamoni used obscene language and pointed a gun at Sterling when he first approached him.
"Officer Salamoni draws his firearm from the holster and tells Sterling in a stern voice, 'Don't f**king move or I'll shoot you in your f**king head,'" according to an investigative report Attorney General Jeff Landry's office released Tuesday.
Investigators say a loaded gun was found in Sterling's pocket after the shooting and that an autopsy showed numerous illegal drugs in Sterling's system, including cocaine.
Landry announced Tuesday morning that neither officer will face any criminal charges. Both had previously been cleared of federal civil rights charges in June 2017.
"You've had at least five expert witnesses in use of force look at it and everyone said that while it was tragic, it was a justified shooting and that officer Salamoni did what he was trained to do and he did what the law allowed him to do," McLindon said.
McLindon adds he does not believe the department will have enough time to fully review all the facts in the case prior to making a decision on the officer's fate.
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome supports the chief's plan and says releasing their findings and key evidence in the case will allow for transparency, and in some cases, closure in the case. "I have supreme confidence that Chief Paul will go through this process expeditiously, swiftly, that he will be thorough, and that we will finally have closure to this issue," Broome added.
While he expects his client to be without a job within the next 72 hours, McLindon is adamant that Salamoni did nothing wrong and he vows they plan to fight if he is let go. "I don't think they're really going to consider any evidence that we put on," said McLindon. "I think they're going to terminate him and we're going to appeal it to the next level."
Both officers have been on paid administrative leave since the incident in 2016.
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