“When will the federal decision in Alton Sterling be issued? I do not know, as that decision will be made by federal authorities,” East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore says.
The D.A. called a press conference Wednesday to release a report of his own, prompted in part by the public concerns over the Alton Sterling shooting last July.
“Today’s the first formal report reviewing all officer-involved shootings for the prior year – an important milestone in Baton Rouge as we all try to learn from the actions of the Alton Sterling shooting.”
The report examines officer-involved shooting deaths, not every incident where a cop discharged his weapon. Moore says there were five total incidents, resulting in eight deaths.
“Five civilian deaths and three police officer deaths,” he detailed. “All of our officer-involved shooting deaths involve men.”
Four died in a single incident: July 17th, when Gavin Long opened fire on officers, killing three and wounding three more before SWAT took Long out.
“The majority of people – 6 out of 8 – who did not survive the officer-involved shootings were African-Americans,” Moore continued, adding that since this is the parish’s first report of its kind, it’s impossible to say if racial discrimination was a factor. He says other data on killings within the parish show a similar pattern.
“Our parish experienced 62 homicides in 2016, the majority involving African-American victims and subjects.”
All but one of the officer-involved shooting events in The D.A.’s new report noted other similarities among last year’s officer-involved shooting incidents. For example, all but one –where the subject tried to run police over with his car -- involved civilians armed with guns.
“Compared to the national incidence, we see more individuals with guns,” Moore said.
He also remarked that mental illness played a part in several of these incidents, as did domestic violence. And next he’ll be analyzing all of 2016’s domestic violence reports to see if there are other insights to be gained from them.
Looking ahead to the release of the Department of Justice report on the Alton Sterling shooting, the D.A. says he expects there will be protests, but…
“We in Baton Rouge have already shown the world that we know how to protest peacefully.”
And he asks that citizens keep it that way.