The Department of Justice is not expected to bring civil rights charges against police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who shot and killed a black man outside a convenience store last summer, because there is not enough evidence of intentional wrongdoing, people with information on the matter told NBC News Tuesday.
On July 5, 2016, Alton Sterling, 37, was selling CDs outside of the store when he was tackled by police officers. Authorities say the officers were looking for a man who had threatened someone with a gun, and Sterling matched his description. Officers said Sterling had a gun and was allegedly trying to reach for it during the scuffle, which ended in Sterling being shot. The incident was caught on video, and critics argue the footage does not show Sterling reaching for a weapon and Louisiana is an open carry state.
The shooting sparked several days of protests and more than 150 people were arrested. It's likely the case will now go to the state attorney general's office. Law enforcement sources told NBC News the decision not to move forward with charges in Sterling's death was made by career prosecutors and investigators, but Rashad Robinson, the executive director of the advocacy group Color of Change, is pinning the move on Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "There is no way to misinterpret the message that Jeff Sessions sent today: Black lives do not matter," Robinson said in a statement.