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To: Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry
Appoint a Special Prosecutor NOW!
Dear Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry,
We demand the immediate appointment of an Independent Special Prosecutor to supervise the state investigation of the Alton Sterling death by Baton Rouge police officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II. “We the people,” are your clients. We are the State. We demand, for the State’s best interest, representation commensurate to that of retained counsel. We demand a good faith effort to secure fully funded, properly staffed and unbiased through investigation.
Why is this important?
Over and over we have seen state prosecutors put on weak cases to assure an acquittal when the defendant is a police officer. State prosecutors routinely work with police on cases to secure a conviction, but when the officer is the defendant, prosecutors have the delicate task of prosecuting the very people and agency that they work closely with daily. It is even more politically treacherous to prosecute an officer as the State Attorney General. Therefore, if the State wants to build confidence in the process and conduct an unbiased investigation, the prosecutor to handle this case must be independent of the District Attorney’s Office, the State Attorney General’s Office, or any other agency beholden to the state.
The appointment of a special prosecutor is in the public’s best interest based on the amount of civil unrest that has ensued subsequent to the increased number of African American killings by white officers and the lack of (I would suggest lack of charges being brought against officers not convictions) convictions regarding these killings. Further, the appointment of a special prosecutor is crucial to bringing back integrity to the criminal justice system and to provide the level of professionalism and deference the Sterling family deserves, but was deprived of during the DOJ investigation and announcement.
We were asked to have confidence in the criminal justice system and trust the process. However, we have lost confidence in the ability of agencies of justice to conduct investigations without prejudice, bias, or political conflict of interest. Given the growing number of protests, riots, and now, police murders, the time to set the tone for untainted justice is NOW. We are not dealing with isolated incidences of police officers’ mishaps and mistakes; we are dealing with a culture of racism, blatant acts of racism, and civil, criminal, and constitutional violations.
We are at a critical juncture in this country and in our history, and one of the first steps in rectifying this overwhelming disproportionate number of violent deaths of blacks by white police officers is to appoint special independent counsel to investigate the death of Alton Sterling. We fear that without this appointment, this country will experience many darker days ahead, marked with an overwhelming rise in violent acts committed by both blacks and whites out of fear, frustration, retaliation, and just plain hatred, akin to what we have experienced since the death of Alton Sterling.
Therefore, we believe the appointment of a special independent prosecutor is now warranted to restore civil order, ensure fairness and integrity, serve public interests, and ensure justice for each party involved in the death of Alton Sterling.