Feds decides not to charge officers in Alton Sterling shooting

stringer bell
stringer bell Members Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 2017 in The Social Lounge
Federal decision in Sterling shooting expected in coming days

The federal decision in the Alton Sterling police shooting case could be imminent, according to several sources close to the initial investigation.

Former Baton Rouge metro councilman John Delgado says multiple people close to the situation have told him the decision will be announced “on or before next Tuesday.” Delgado is currently a lobbyist for the Baton Rouge Union of Police and stressed that he was not speaking on behalf of that organization.

Speculation about when the decision might come has swirled for months, with many initially expecting a decision before the end of the Obama administration in January. It is quite possible the current speculation could be off base.

Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola says his department is preparing.

“We have not been formally informed, we’re just working off the same rumors everyone else is hearing,” he said. “We have had meetings and will continue to meet to prepare for the decision.”

Sterling, 37, was shot by a Baton Rouge police officer last July after two officers were called to a convenience store to look into a report that a man with a gun had just threatened another man outside the store.

The officers and Sterling struggled and at one point all three were on the ground when shots were fired by one of the officers. At least one of several pieces of footage that captured portions of the shooting appears to show an officer remove a gun from Sterling’s pocket after he was shot.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has been reviewing the case to decide whether the two officers on the scene violated Sterling’s civil rights. Proving that, legal scholars say, is often difficult because prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers intended to violate Sterling’s constitutional rights.

A DOJ spokesperson this week declined comment on the speculation of an imminent decision, saying they do not comment on pending cases.

After the federal decision is handed down, the case will be handed over to the Louisiana Attorney General’s office to investigative any potential state criminal charges. One example of a state charge that could be considered is manslaughter. Any such decision on the state level is likely many months away since the Louisiana Attorney General’s office says it will not even get any evidence in the case from the federal government until the federal probe is complete.

The Sterling shooting led to several weeks of demonstrations in Baton Rouge in which more than a hundred people were arrested, including many from out of state.


  • 1CK1S
    1CK1S Members Posts: 27,471 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Welp get ready to riot or protest
  • jetlifebih
    jetlifebih Guests, Members, Writer, Content Producer Posts: 4,655 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Sure do take a long ass time to make up a reason why the cop will go free
  • stringer bell
    stringer bell Members Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Baton Rouge officials on timing of Alton Sterling announcement: Remain calm, avoid rumors

    A U.S. Congressman blasted the U.S. Department of Justice over their "failure to communicate with the community" about its long-awaited decision in the Alton Sterling shooting as local leaders said they have no concrete information, just widespread rumors of an impending announcement.

    Several Baton Rouge elected officials urged calm amidst rumblings that a Sterling decision is imminent, possibly coming next week. Metro Councilman LaMont Cole, whose district includes the Triple S store where Sterling was shot, said in a statement that the chatter remained a mere rumor.

    "I have received no official confirmation from anyone in the know," Cole said. "I would ask anyone who is hearing the same to continue to remain calm as we have done for nine months."

    But the "persistent rumors" that an announcement from federal prosecutors is imminent "have risen to the point that local schools and other organizations are expending funds to prepare for a Tuesday announcement," Congressman Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, wrote in a sharply worded letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

    Richmond, who represents portions of Baton Rouge, wrote that the Department of Justice's lack of communication about its timeline for an announcement "has created angst and nervousness," calling it "inappropriate and against the interests of public safety" for federal officials "to allow this level of uncertainty to continue."

    The FBI and federal Department of Justice have been investigating the fatal shooting of Sterling, 37, which took place during an altercation with two Baton Rouge police officers on July 5 outside a North Foster Drive convenience store. The federal probe centers on whether the officers — who've remained on paid leave since the shooting — committed civil rights violations.

    In a statement sent by Communications Director Janene Tate, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said she has "not received any inclination or notice of a decision being made," but emphasized that she is in "consistent communication" with Gov. John Bel Edwards's office, community groups and others.

    "Know that when I do receive the news, you will receive it as well. And, I will be right here with you all in this community that we proudly call home. I encourage you to stay vigilant and informed. All official statements and timely information will be made available via public briefings, the city-parish website, my official social media pages and reputable news outlets," Broome said.

    Metro Councilman Matt Watson said he was not yet prepared to comment on the rumors. The councilman, whose district includes police headquarters, the site of many demonstrations last summer, said that Baton Rouge officers are as "prepared as they could possibly be" whenever a decision is announced.

    Corey Amundson, the acting U.S. attorney in Baton Rouge, said earlier this week he couldn't comment on when federal prosecutors would announce their findings and declined to address the rumors. Federal officials have made almost no public comment on the investigation since it began the day after the shooting.

    Richmond referenced several previous letters and a conversation with a Sessions deputy that left him "frustrated" in his letter Friday. "Quite frankly," Richmond told the nation's top prosecutor, "it does not seem like your office is taking this investigation seriously enough."

    "Mr. Sterling's family and the broader community deserve a fair, open and transparent process, not an opaque and unaccountable investigation," Richmond wrote.

    On Thursday, Baton Rouge state Rep. Ted James, a Democrat, said he can't "confirm or deny" anything but is "hearing the same things everyone is hearing about the DOJ response, that it's imminent."

    Area law enforcement officials, including Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr., told The Advocate this week they haven't been told when to expect an announcement. But Dabadie and others said they've been preparing to respond to protests or demonstrations that might follow an announcement by federal prosecutors.

    If federal prosecutors decline to bring charges, the case will be handed to Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. His office will review the evidence to decide if any state charges should be filed.
  • Copper
    Copper Members Posts: 49,532 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Only black Americans getting murdered takes this ? long to decide if the law applies or not
  • stringer bell
    stringer bell Members Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Alton Sterling shooting prompts new policing bills in Louisiana House

    The Alton Sterling shooting in Baton Rouge was a driving force behind four bills that a Louisiana House committee approved Thursday (April 27) to improve police training and weed out problematic officers. The bills were drafted by African American legislators with the help of the Louisiana Sheriffs Association and other law enforcement organizations after Sterling, an African American, was shot dead July 5 during a struggle with two white Baton Rouge officers.

    All four bills have a long way to go before becoming law; they've passed the House Judiciary Committee but still face votes from the full House and in the Senate. The Sheriffs Association backs the bills and three are part of Gov. John Bel Edwards' legislative package, but at least one is opposed by police unions, including the one for Baton Rouge officers.

    Still, some legislators think the committee's endorsement could help calm fears when the U.S. Justice Department announces the results of its investigation into the shooting. Sterling's death prompted days of protests in Baton Rouge, and the city has been on edge awaiting the outcome of the federal inquiry.

    The fix is in...
  • stringer bell
    stringer bell Members Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    'We don't need chaos': Leaders meet at Triple S to discuss Alton Sterling announcement

    As Baton Rouge awaits a U.S. Justice Department decision on Alton Sterling’s death, a state legislator, prominent ministers, a Sterling family member and community activists gathered Saturday to call for peaceful protests, more organizing and to not allow “outside agitators” to cause chaos.

    The group stood behind one another in support as a mural of Sterling seemed to gaze over their shoulders from the wall of the Triple S Food Mart, where he was fatally shot by a Baton Rouge police officer last July.

    Several Baton Rouge elected officials have talked about rumblings that a decision is imminent from the Justice Department on whether two Baton Rouge police officers on leave committed federal civil rights violations in Sterling’s death.

    About 50 community residents gathered at Triple S. Food Mart Saturday to hear from state Rep. C. Denise Marcelle and others preparing for whatever decision the Justice Department announces.

    “When a decision comes down we want peaceful protests, but just know that even after they come with their decision, we’re still fighting,” said Sandra Sterling, Alton Sterling’s aunt, who was wearing a t-shirt with her nephew's photo and the words 'when will it end' on it.

    “We haven't stopped fighting. It’s going to be a process after (the decision),” she said.

    Sandra Sterling said she does not know when the decision will come, but she was told through her attorney that the Justice Department will give the family six hour advance notice that the decision is coming.

    Speakers stressed the importance of peaceful protests.

    Marcelle said that government leaders should be held accountable, but asked protesters to be respectful to law enforcement officers and to pray for them
    and all of Baton Rouge. Anger over Sterling’s shooting spilled over into several days of street protests in Baton Rouge, with some pouring in from out of state. One of the outsiders drawn to the city in the wake of Sterling’s killing, Gavin Long, 29, killed three law enforcement officers and injured three others on July 17 before he was shot and killed himself.

    “It is no time for us to point fingers at one another,” Marcelle said. “It is a time for us to unify and get justice. We need justice. We don’t need chaos. … Protests are fine if they are organized, but when they are unorganized it’s called chaos. We want unification and we want non-violence. I don’t want to see any more bloodshed.”

    Marcelle advised community members to leave children at home during protests as she wrapped her arm around her young granddaughter’s shoulder, remembering how seeing young kids in the streets close to moving vehicles last summer grieved her.

    Community activist Keon Preston and Father Richard Andrus of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church separately addressed reports of outsiders coming into Baton Rouge in response to the decision. Both said locals should carry on peacefully, despite the outside agitators.

    “Think we have a moment right now where we can set an example for the rest of the nation,” Andrus said. “We know who we are and we know what we’re about and we’re not going to let somebody else distract us. We’re not going to let them bring their stuff in and put it on our plate and let their mess become ours.”

    Beyond peaceful protests, members of the Nation of Islam started a boycott of the Mall of Louisiana today as part of a “black unity economic boycott campaign,” according to Rashad Ali Muhammad, a youth representative for the Nation of Islam.

    Local pastor Reginald Pitcher said he supports what he referred to as selective buying campaign in order to build unity.

    “We wholeheartedly support the building of black businesses in this city, economic development,” Pitcher said. “We wholeheartedly support the unity and the strength that will bring to this community. So we’re saying to you, if we don’t get A we can certainly get B. We control that.”

    Regardless of what the decision may be, activist A.V. Mitchell made it clear that he thinks there are a lot of decisions to be made that will shape the future.

    “If this decision is not in our favor, do we protest, boycott or riot?” Mitchell said. “Do we empower, educate, think for ourselves, ignore social media mess makers and outside agitators? Seek justice and work on systematic change for our brothers? I don’t know the answer, but I know who holds the power. ? holds the power and that power is in each one of us.”

    “We are asking to be respectful to law enforcement at the end of the day. I'm not stopping you from protesting. It ain’t what you do, it’s how you do it. Let’s do everything in decency and in order,” Keon Preston, President of Stop the Violence, said.

    “I stressed nonviolence when it happened in July, I will continue to stress nonviolence. If they want to protest, there is a way to protest,” Rep. Marcelle said.

    Rep. Marcelle says the process of making a unified outcry can be structured, without resulting in chaos and destruction.

    “Don't let the emotions and frustrations erupt to the point that they start committing crimes,” says Preston.

    Community leaders, like AV Mitchell, urge the public to “be productive” and “think for yourself,” strongly encouraging smart decision making and not allowing what they call "out of town agitators," to unnecessarily stir the already boiling ? .

    “We have to keep in mind that unity is the key to all things. What happens at this store, no agrees too, no one agrees with it. However, let the correct people do their investigation like they're supposed to and let's just see where it goes from there,” says Preston.

    Be peaceful ? .. Be peaceful.. While those race soldiers continue to pick ? off one by one with no consequences…
  • blackamerica
    blackamerica Members Posts: 2,897 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If i was the family i aint asking ppl to do ? . Why do we make statements like this? It aint the family's job of unjustly murdered black ppl to calm protestors down, especially after we KNOW the system ? us again. My attitude is "if yall ? wanna burn ? down. ? it let it burn!"
  • ghostdog56
    ghostdog56 Members Posts: 2,947 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If i was the family i aint asking ppl to do ? . Why do we make statements like this? It aint the family's job of unjustly murdered black ppl to calm protestors down, especially after we KNOW the system ? us again. My attitude is "if yall ? wanna burn ? down. ? it let it burn!"

    I think they put that ? as part of the law suit settlement that if they incite violence it voids the settlement but I'm just speculating
  • 7figz
    7figz Members Posts: 15,294 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Justice Department will not charge Baton Rouge officers in fatal shooting of Alton Sterling
    The Justice Department has decided not to bring charges against the officers involved in the death of Alton Sterling, whose videotaped shooting by police in Baton Rouge last summer prompted unrest across the city, and is planning to reveal in the next 24 hours that it has closed the probe, according to four people familiar with the matter.
  • blackamerica
    blackamerica Members Posts: 2,897 ✭✭✭✭✭
    7figz wrote: »
    Justice Department will not charge Baton Rouge officers in fatal shooting of Alton Sterling
    The Justice Department has decided not to bring charges against the officers involved in the death of Alton Sterling, whose videotaped shooting by police in Baton Rouge last summer prompted unrest across the city, and is planning to reveal in the next 24 hours that it has closed the probe, according to four people familiar with the matter.
  • Recaptimus_Prime360
    Recaptimus_Prime360 Members Posts: 64,801 ✭✭✭✭✭
    7figz wrote: »
    Justice Department will not charge Baton Rouge officers in fatal shooting of Alton Sterling
    The Justice Department has decided not to bring charges against the officers involved in the death of Alton Sterling, whose videotaped shooting by police in Baton Rouge last summer prompted unrest across the city, and is planning to reveal in the next 24 hours that it has closed the probe, according to four people familiar with the matter.

    Gee...why am I not surprised.
  • blackgod813
    blackgod813 Members Posts: 9,577 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hmmm.hear me well in a revolt they will be some blacks who will act ass whites have acted ? kids nat turner like acts an some blacks will say thats wrong those blacks should remain silent.......THE ? YOU BELIEVE IN HAS FORSAKEN US......one mans rants hey lil yachty got a cd an joe buddens doesnt like it.....surely u serve a unjust ?
  • Turfaholic
    Turfaholic Members Posts: 20,429 ✭✭✭✭✭
    ? becoming too normal
  • manofmorehouse
    manofmorehouse Members Posts: 2,716 ✭✭✭✭✭
    ? really surprised that the justice department, headed by Jeff Sessions, decided not to prosecute?? Just the beginning. Next will be sending ? to jail for weed, which he says is on par with heroin use. Meanwhile, more than 22 democrats are lining up exploratory committees for 2020 so the vote can be splintered again. Survive the drought...
  • stringer bell
    stringer bell Members Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Officers won't face federal charges in Alton Sterling death

    BATON ROUGE — The two Louisiana police officers who fatally shot a 37-year-old black man in Baton Rouge last year won't face federal charges, the U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday.

    Though the results of the Justice Department's findings into Alton Sterling's July death were widely reported Tuesday after details were leaked to The Washington Post and then the Associated Press, Wednesday's announcement made it official.

    It is now up to Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry to decide whether to prosecute officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II on state criminal charges.

    Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome planned a news conference later in the day.

    U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson described the federal investigation at a news conference after meeting with Sterling's family, saying every agent and prosecutor involved in the probe believed charges were not warranted for Salamoni and Lake.

    Amundson said the officers' encounter with the 6-foot-3, more than 300-pound Sterling happened in the span of about 90 seconds.

    "Life and death decisions were being made in split seconds," he said.

    The investigation found that Salamoni shot Sterling three times after saying that Sterling was reaching for a gun in his pocket, and fired three more shots into Sterling's back when he began to sit up and move, the prosecutor said.

    Sterling was selling CDs outside of a convenience store when approached by white police officers. The struggle was captured on videotape and also ignited waves of protest and national condemnation.

    Witnesses said they didn't see a gun in Sterling's hand, but that police pulled a gun from Sterling's pants pocket. Sterling, a convicted felon, wasn't legally allowed to carry a gun.

    In the wake of the Sterling shooting Gavin Eugene Long of St. Louis traveled to Baton Rouge and shot six police officers, killing three, in an apparent retaliatory attack.

    Family members and elected officials were angered that the results of the investigation were leaked before they were notified.

    The Sterling case highlights the fraught nature of bringing federal charges, which require the government to establish that officers acted with intent.

    The standard was often cited by the Obama Justice Department in its examinations of police conduct, including the decision not to charge a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in the 2014 fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

    The decision in the Sterling case was the highest profile decision not to bring charges against police officers in a deadly shooting since Jeff Sessions became attorney general. But the federal investigation into possible civil rights violations by the officers was seen as problematic. Authorities in such cases must meet a difficult standard of proof, a challenge that has complicated prosecutions in past police shootings.

    The big scary super human black man excuse.. Smh...
  • stringer bell
    stringer bell Members Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    A lawyer for the white Baton Rouge police officer who shot and killed a black man during a struggle last summer says his client is relieved the Justice Department isn't charging him with a federal crime.

    John McLindon, Blane Salamoni's attorney, told The Associated Press he spoke to the officer Wednesday after the Justice Department announced its decision in the investigation of Alton Sterling's fatal shooting on July 5. He says the "stress of the unknown" has been hard on Salamoni and his family while they wait for the investigation to conclude.

    McLindon says he can't discuss the evidence in the case due to a pending state investigation. But he expressed confidence state authorities also will rule out criminal charges against Salamoni and a second white police officer involved in the deadly confrontation.

    Officers Blane Salamoni, Howie Lake II's attorneys respond to Alton Sterling announcement

    An attorney for Blane Salamoni, the Baton Rouge police officer who fatally shot Alton Sterling after a struggle last July, applauded the federal investigation that found there was no basis to charge his client as "thorough and exhaustive."

    "I don't think I can say it any better than the United States Attorney said it: There was a thorough, exhaustive and long investigation and it was unanimous," said John McLindon, an attorney representing Salamoni. "Every agent that worked on this case said that there was not enough evidence here to prosecute. That's what I always felt belonged and it was good to hear it from the government."

    McLindon said he believes that after Attorney General Jeff Landry reviews the case the results will be the same: no state charges filed against his client.

    The DOJ detailed explanation of what happened during the 90-second encounter between Salamoni and Officer Howie Lake II and Sterling notes that after an initial struggle Salamoni pulled out his gun and pointed it at Sterling's head in order to get him to place his hands on the hood of a car. An attorney representing the Sterling family said they were told by federal investigators that in that moment Salamoni said, "I'm going to ? you, ? ."

    "If that's on the video, the government didn't feel like it warranted a prosecution," McLindon said, while noting Acting U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson said the government used two national use-of-force experts who also reached the conclusion that federal civil rights charges could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Amundson's statement did note that the experts "criticized aspects of the officers’ techniques." McLindon said he could not comment on that, saying it "would be between the officers and their superiors."

    "This has been a really trying time for Mr. Salamoni and his family," McLindon said. "They've been under a tremendous amount of stress and pressure. They're glad to have this part behind them and now we'll address the state court investigation."

    Fred Crifasi, an attorney representing Lake, said his client is "relieved" by the conclusion of the DOJ investigation, but will refrain from public comments as the case remains in the hands of the Attorney General's office.

    "The course of events on July 5, 2016 caused the tragic loss of a human life," Crifasi said. "It has drastically changed the lives of all those personally connected and has indirectly affected so many more. While Officer Lake is certainly relieved by the conclusion reached by the United States Department of Justice, he is aware that this investigation is now in the hands of the Attorney General for the State of Louisiana. Accordingly, he will continue to refrain from publicly commenting on the facts of the case."
  • stringer bell
    stringer bell Members Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Five key takeaways from the Justice Dept. investigation into Alton Sterling’s death

    The Justice Department is closing its investigation into the Baton Rouge police shooting death of Alton Sterling. (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

    The Justice Department announced Wednesday that it would not bring federal charges against two Baton Rouge police officers in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, ending the investigation launched after his death last year.

    In announcing the decision, federal officials outlined the facts of the case and released a report on their determination, detailing how they came to the decision. Here are five key points from the Justice Department’s report.

    1. An officer pointed his gun at Sterling’s head early in the encounter

    While videos showing the moments of the shooting went viral nationally, it had been thus far unclear what exactly happened in the first moments of interaction between Sterling and Baton Rouge police officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake.

    According to the report released by Justice Department investigators, the officers encountered Sterling sometime after 12:30 a.m. on July 5, outside the Triple S Food Mart. According to Justice Department summaries of yet-to-be-released video evidence, the officers began the interaction by telling Sterling to put his hands on the hood of a car.

    When Sterling did not immediately comply, “Officer Salamoni then pulled out his gun and pointed it at Sterling’s head,” the Justice Department report states, which prompted Sterling to put his hands on the car hood. When Sterling later moved his hands, Lake used his stun gun twice, and then Salamoni tackled Sterling.

    2. Some things were kept out of the report — but not kept secret

    The Justice Department says that “particularly sensitive facts and evidence” are not being disclosed to maintain the integrity of a forthcoming state investigation.

    However, attorneys for Sterling’s family announced at a news conference that federal investigators told them that Salamoni, before the shooting — when the officer first drew his gun and pointed it at Sterling’s head — told Sterling, “I’m going to ? you.”

    That detail, which Sterling’s family’s attorney say was drawn from still-unreleased audio and video of the interaction, could be a factor in whether state prosecutors bring charges.

    “It shows Officer Salamoni’s mindframe,” Chris Stewart, the lead attorney for the Sterling family, said in an interview. “He was just out there raging, to put a gun to someone’s head who isn’t doing anything. They weren’t wrestling or fighting yet.”

    An attorney for Salamoni declined to discuss whether the officer made the threat.

    3. Sterling was shot six times. The final shots were fired into his back.

    The Justice Department’s report includes a narrative of the shooting based on videos that recorded the interaction. According to this narrative, Salamoni fired all six shots that struck Sterling.

    The first shots were fired after Salamoni tackled Sterling and both officers tried to control the man’s arms, the narrative states. This struggle was captured in one of the videos that went viral last year.

    Salamoni yelled that Sterling was “going for his pocket,” adding: “He’s got a gun! Gun!” While Salamoni tried to control Sterling’s hand, Lake drew his weapon and ordered Sterling not to move, the narrative continued. Less than one second later, with Sterling’s right hand not visible to any of the cameras, Salamoni again yelled that Sterling was “going for the gun!” and fired three shots into Sterling’s chest.

    Salamoni, gun still in hand, then rolled onto his back, with Lake standing behind him as they faced Sterling. As Sterling began to sit up and roll over, bringing his arm across his body, Lake yelled at him to stop moving. When he did not, Salamoni fired three rounds into Sterling’s back, the report states. Lake then reached into Sterling’s pocket and pulled out a .38-caliber revolver, which was loaded.

    “According to the officers, Sterling was large and very strong, and from the very beginning resisted their commands,” the Justice Department report states. “The officers reported that they responded with multiple different compliance techniques and that Sterling resisted the entire time.”

    4. The fatal encounter took less than 90 seconds

    This is a common theme in high-profile police shootings, which can escalate from initial encounter to deadly force in a matter of seconds. In this case, the investigation said the time between the first police order to Sterling and the final gunshot took less than 90 seconds. The officers did not begin struggling with Sterling on the ground until less than 30 seconds before he was shot.

    Only in Amerikkka...
  • stringer bell
    stringer bell Members Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    In email to athletes, LSU 'supports' and cautions them in publicly expressing their views on Alton Sterling news

    The LSU athletic department, in an email sent to its 350-plus athletes, communicated its “respect and support” for them to publicly express their opinions regarding the Alton Sterling case, but cautioned the athletes to be mindful of media attention and respectful to others.

    The mass email, sent Wednesday afternoon, was obtained by The Advocate from multiple sources. An LSU spokesman declined comment when reached.

    In the email, LSU senior associate athletics director Miriam Segar offers counseling for those athletes who need it, encourages them to avoid “potentially violent situations” and insists they not wear LSU gear when expressing their opinion on the matter.

    “We know this is a subject that many of you care deeply about and we respect and support your right to speak publicly and express your opinions,” the email reads, before Segar lists an array of suggestions for those who plan to speak or post messages about the Sterling decision.

    The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced that it has decided not to charge two white Baton Rouge police officers in the death of Sterling, a black man whose fatal shooting in July was captured on cellphone video. The incident shook the city and incited mostly peaceful protests throughout Baton Rouge.

    LSU football coach Ed Orgeron was prepared earlier this week to meet with leaders on the football team when the news broke. Former coach Les Miles did something similar in July after Sterling’s death.

    Several LSU athletes showed support for Sterling in July, most notably star running back Leonard Fournette, who posted a photo of himself wearing a T-shirt with an image of Sterling.

    The university has been prepared for this moment.

    The email to LSU’s athletes “assures” them that the university will maintain a “safe learning and working environment," something school president F. King Alexander also reiterated in a statement Wednesday.

    "We are committed to helping students withstand societal challenges, supporting them in expressing themselves in a safe manner if they wish to participate in the public dialogue, and developing future leaders who will help avoid situations like the ones of July 2016," Alexander said.

    While the university showed support for its athletes' opinions in the email, it warns that what they “say and do directly impacts how people around the world view LSU.”

    “If you choose to express your opinion on this issue, including on social media, we ask that you not wear LSU gear or use LSU branding,” the email reads.

    The university expects the Sterling news to be a “very sensitive situation with heavy scrutiny from both local and national media,” the email reads. “Remember that public comments on this topic may be their first and only impression of you.”