Sterling children accept settlement offer; judge dismisses case

A 19th Judicial District Court judge has dismissed the lawsuit filed against the city-parish and former Baton Rouge police officer Blane Salamoni on behalf of Alton Sterling’s five children, who lost their father in a controversial police shooting almost exactly five years ago.

According to court documents filed in mid-May, Sterling’s children have agreed to accept the settlement terms offered earlier this year by the city-parish and asked Judge William Morvant to dismiss the case, which he did, thus closing the books on one of the more painful chapters in Baton Rouge history.

Sterling was shot outside the Triple S food mart on July 5, 2016, after police responded to a complaint of a man with a gun outside the store. The killing inflamed racial tensions and cast a national spotlight on the history of strained relations between the Baton Rouge Police Department and Black residents.

The lawsuit was filed in 2017 and sought punitive damages against the city-parish for allegedly violating Sterling’s civil rights.

Earlier this year, both sides in the case thought they had reached a deal, when the Metro Council approved a $4.5 million settlement offer that would have paid $1 million upfront, followed by annual $875,000 payments over the next four years.

The Sterling children countered by asking for $2 million upfront, with the remaining $2.5 million over a two-year period.

Had the Sterling children not agreed to the terms of the deal, the case would have ultimately gone to trial.

An attorney for the Sterling children did not return a request seeking comment.

In response to the settlement, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome says, “the settlement of this case is an important step for our community. We can now move forward and continue to focus on current priorities.”