1 officer dismissed from Alton Sterling wrongful death suit

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A white Louisiana police officer who assisted in the arrest in which Alton Sterling was fatally shot has been dismissed from a wrongful death lawsuit.

A state district judge dismissed Howie Lake II from the case Monday at the request of Lake and his attorney, The Advocate reported.

Lake used a stun gun on Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man, and helped wrestle him to the ground during the 2016 encounter in Baton Rouge. Lake did not fire his gun. Former Baton Rouge officer Blane Salamoni shot Sterling six times during the struggle outside a convenience store where Sterling was selling homemade CDs.

Federal and state prosecutors declined to criminally charge Salamoni and Lake.

In 2017, Sterling’s family sued the city, its police department and former police chief and the two officers. The lawsuit alleges the shooting fit a pattern of racist behavior and excessive force by police.

Lake’s attorney had argued there was “absolutely nothing” the officer could have done to prevent Salamoni from fatally shooting Sterling, according to The Advocate.

A lawyer for the Sterling family said attorneys would be meeting to consider their options following the decision.

Salamoni and the others named remain in the suit defendants. It will go to court on March 1, 2021, unless a settlement is reached, news outlets have reported.

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