It has been three years since Baton Rouge was rocked by protests in the wake of the July 5, 2016, shooting death of Alton Sterling outside the Triple S Food Mart.
But the fate of the officer who fired the fatal shots, Blane Salamoni, remains pending before the Baton Rouge civil service board.
That may soon change.
Salamoni’s attorney, John McLindon, confirms he is “working towards a settlement” with the civil service board and that it could be resolved before a hearing that is currently scheduled for August.
Salamoni was fired in March 2018 for his role in the incident after nearly two years of paid administrative leave. He immediately appealed the termination to the civil service board, which oversees the discipline process for police and fire personnel and has the authority to overturn departmental decisions.
Though the appellate hearing is currently set for next month, it was originally scheduled for October 2018 but has been pushed back three times.
McLindon couldn’t say what a potential settlement between the board and his client might look like, but one possibility is that Salamoni would agree to leave the department and, perhaps, a career in law enforcement altogether in return for some amount of back pay.
The high-profile police shooting, one of many around the country that gained national attention, divided the community and prompted all sorts of calls for unity and reform. But three years later, it doesn’t appear much has changed, says Gary Chambers, an online publisher in north Baton Rouge, who has followed the case closely.
“It’s been three years and it’s frustrating,” he says. “As far as police accountability, little has changed.”
Chambers is also frustrated that the Metro Council has yet to offer a settlement to Sterling’s children, who filed a civil suit over their father’s death.
“The Metro Council is choosing to let this issue remain open and refusing to do the right thing and refusing to compensate his children,” Chambers says. “Whether you think Alton was a bad guy and Blain was a good guy or not, nobody had to die that night and the children shouldn’t have to suffer for it.”