The news of Alton Sterling's death at the hands of Baton Rouge police has angered and saddened millions around the country.
The police officers in question, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, have already been placed on leave, and local law enforcement have asked for the FBI to conduct a federal investigation. Now, newly surfaced information shows that this is not the first time Lake has been suspended for his involvement in the shooting of a Black man.
The 29-year-old officer was placed on administrative leave in December 2014 after a suspect, Kevin Knight, was shot multiple times when trying to flee police.
Local reports stated that police shot Knight after he crashed his car and ran during a police chase. He reportedly opened fire on the police, which spurred them to return fire, shooting him in the torso.
At this time it is not clear which of the two officers opened fire on Sterling, but Salamoni's father-in-law, James Durdin, told the New York Daily News that he blames Black people for turning Sterling's killing into an agenda. "It burns me you-know-what when it's usually the Black people that try to make an agenda out of this," he said. "What I'd like to see is them with no police at all, so they know what it's like not to have them." He continued, "I'm just totally against these people," speaking about those who have protested the murder of Sterling. "They take advantage of every situation to promote their agendas."
This sentiment, and the fact that Lake had already been put on leave for shooting a Black man in the past, shows strong indications of anti-Black sentiment within both officers, and possibly within the police department as a whole.
Perhaps we would not have to "promote" any agenda if police stopped shooting our young men and women.
(Photos from Top: Gerald Herbert/AP Photo, Baton Rouge Police Dept)