The former Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officer who fatally shot Alton Sterling is being charged after he was caught on video striking a handcuffed suspect in 2016.
Blane Salamoni was charged with simple battery after a review of his old bodycam footage showed him slapping a suspect less than a month before the July 5, 2016 slaying of Sterling, reported The New York Post.
Salamoni was fired in March because he shot Sterling 6 times at point-blank range while he was on the ground. Officially, Police Chief Murphy Paul said he fired Salamoni for violating department policies on use of force and “command of temper.”
State and federal authorities decided not to charge Salamoni for the killing of Sterling, but the Police Department decided to review video from four other incidents where Salamoni was accused of using excessive force.
The review showed the officer did attack a defenseless handcuffed suspect in June 2016, before he killed Sterling.
The police department had the complaint and the footage but chose to do nothing until 2018. If they would have done their jobs, and investigated an abusive cop, then Sterling might still be alive today.
Salamoni’s lawyer, Brant Mayer, says the Police Department is using Salamoni’s battery video to stop the appeal to get his job back. He also said that Salamoni spoke to his supervisor shortly after the incident and police have had no problem with the battery for almost 2 years.
“This is just one more thing Blane has to deal with before he puts this chapter behind him,” said Mayer. “There were no issues at that point.”
A charge of simple battery is punishable by a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine, so he could face a harsher punishment for hitting someone than killing someone.