BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The president of an international police union said he was "disheartened, but not surprised" by Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul's decision to fire Officer Blane Salamoni for his involvement in the fatal July 2016 shooting of Alton Sterling.
President Sam A. Cabral of the International Union of Police Associations said in a statement issued Wednesday that Paul's decision was following orders from Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. Paul, however, says his decision was not politically motivated.
"Very publicly, Mayor Broome called for officer Salamoni's termination, long before either of the two independent investigations had been completed. Chief Murphy was hired by the mayor and certainly is expected to follow her direction. This termination is just that," Cabral said in a statement released by the union.
"The facts of the event are not much in dispute. The officers were called to the location to deal with a man who was reportedly armed and had threatened the caller. Mr. Sterling's actions, and those actions alone, determined the fatal outcome of this incident," he added.
The Baton Rouge Union of Police Local #237 issued a statement on March 30, the day Salamoni was fired and Officer Howie Lake II was suspended, stating their support for both officers. Both unions expressed they were looking forward to "a fair and impartial hearing" with the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board.
Attorney General Jeff Landry announced on March 27 that he would criminally charge Salamoni or Lake for the 2016 shooting of Alton Sterling. The U.S. Department of Justice announced in May 2017 that it found that neither officer violated Sterling's civil rights during the incidents.
See the full statements from both unions below:
International Union of Police Associations
Baton Rouge Union of Police Local #237