BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul issued an apology to the city of Baton Rouge and the family of Alton Sterling after announcing that the police officer who fired the fatal shot in 2016 will never return to the police department.
“Baton Rouge, we are sorry,” he said. “I want to apologize to the family of Alton Sterling and his family because [Blane Salamoni] never should have been hired. Although we obviously cannot change the past, it is clear we need to change the future.”
The announcement was due to the ongoing appeal by Officer Blane Salamoni, who was fired in March of 2018 by Chief Paul.
The deal between Salamoni and the department ended the drawn out appeal process and effectively rescinded his termination and allowed him to resign instead.
Attorney Leo Hamilton explained during the press conference, held Thursday, Aug. 1, that Salamoni did not receive any back pay or financial compensation and dismissed all of his claims to the police department.
Hamilton also revealed Salamoni had a prior arrest on his record before he applied to be part of the Baton Rouge Police Department.
“Mr. Salamoni’s ill temperament and disregard of rules was evident before his employment with BRPD,” said Hamilton. "Mr. Salamoni failed to report he had such an arrest on his application to the police force."
According to Hamilton, the arrest was related to a domestic incident.
After the press conference, East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome issued the following statement;
"Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul announced today he has reached a resolution with the attorneys for former officer Blane Salamoni concerning his departure from the department. This has been a long time coming and it highlights my efforts to reform the Baton Rouge Police Department.
First, let me say I stand behind our officers, men and women who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect our citizens. However, our department no longer has room for individuals who can’t live up to its high standards or have shown a pattern of unprofessional behavior.
Public servants are and should be held to a higher standard, no one is exempt. Since taking office I have directed the department to implement national best practices and standards for 21st Century Policing. I have done this in the following ways:
- Hired Chief Murphy Paul, a decorated officer with the Louisiana State Police.
- Invested in equipment for officers such as purchasing new cruisers and radios.
- Invested in technology that uses data to fight crime efficiently.
- Updated training to help bridge the gap between officers and the community.
- Updated the department’s use-of-force policy.
- Conducted a police pay study to compare departments in the region.
I stand behind Chief Paul’s decision to put this matter behind us. Salamoni will receive no monetary compensation in this resolution."
Chief Murphy Paul was sworn into office Jan. 8, 2018.
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