Great Britain

Alton Sterling’s family reaches $4.5 million settlement with Baton Rouge over his fatal shooting by police

The family of Alton Sterling, who was fatally shot by Baton Rouge police in 2016, has reached a $4.5m settlement with the Louisiana city.

In a statement, lawyers for the family thanked the city and announced that they were dropping their lawsuit.

“On behalf of the family of Alton Sterling, we are pleased to announce that we have reached a $4.5 million settlement with the city of Baton Rouge and dismissed our lawsuit against the city and others,” they said on Sunday.

Mr Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man, was selling CDs in front of a convenience store in July 2016 when he was shot and killed by two white police officers. Those officers were never charged in Mr Sterling’s death, though one was eventually fired.

News of Mr Sterling’s death, and that of Philando Castile the next day in Minnesota, sparked a wave of protests against police brutality that summer. On Sunday, lawyers for the Sterling family said they hoped the settlement would help ease tensions.

“This settlement, which was reached through hard work and collaboration between attorneys for Mr Sterling’s family and the Baton Rouge City Council, will allow the city to heal and provide a pathway for Mr. Sterling’s children to be provided for financially,” the statement went on.

In addition to the financial settlement, the attorneys added, the Baton Rouge Police Department had promised to make several reforms.

“Our hope is that these policy changes, which focus on de-escalation, providing verbal warnings prior to using deadly force and prohibiting officers from both using chokeholds and firing into moving vehicles, will ensure that no other family has to endure the trauma and heartbreak that Mr Sterling’s family went through,” the lawyers said.

Baton Rouge’s Metro Council had previously rejected a $5 million settlement, but agreed to $4.5 million in February.

“I am pleased our Metro Council was able to find a consensus and approve an offer of settlement in the Alton Sterling civil case,” the Council’s mayor-president, Sharon Weston Broome, said in a statement at that time. “After nearly five years, the people of Baton Rouge are finally one step closer to getting much-needed closure in this traumatic episode of our history.”

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