In a phone call with The AP, East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Beau Clark also said he was banned from releasing the official court order showing the judge’s request to keep the autopsy sealed. Clark, who’s served as coroner since 2012, said this is the first time a judge has sealed a report from his office.
During a presser last month, Clark announced Sterling died of multiple gunshot wounds to the back and chest, but further findings haven’t been made available. Sterling’s case is currently under investigation with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Spokespersons for Baton Rouge U.S. Attorney Walter Green and the U.S Justice Department refrained from commenting because of the ongoing investigation.
Sterling’s death, which took place on July 5, was captured on a cell phone and broadcast on social media – sparking national unrest over the slew of recent police shootings involving Black men and women in America. In the days and weeks that followed, protesters in Baton Rouge and around the nation called for justice, specifically de-escalation tactic reform.
Officers say they approached Sterling due to a 911 call placed by a homeless man who claimed he was threatened with a gun. Tensions escalated between Sterling, who was selling CDs outside of a local corner store, and the officers. Sterling was restrained and subdued with a taser. As he lay on the ground, an officer fired multiple bullets into his chest.
The two officers involved, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, claim Sterling was reaching for a gun in his pocket before he was fatally shot. Both officers have been placed on administrative leave.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. also claims Sterling was armed, but has not released further information. Authorities have also not released existing body camera, surveillance, or dash cam footage.
SOURCE: AP | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty