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National

Vigil In Baton Rouge Over Reported Justice Department Decision

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We have an update now on the case of Alton Sterling. He was the black man killed by two white police officers last year in Baton Rouge, La. The shooting was caught on video, and it prompted protests and an inquiry by the Justice Department. NPR has confirmed that the Department of Justice will not bring charges against those police officers.

We're going to turn now to reporter Travis Lux of member station WWNO. He is in Baton Rouge and on the line. Hi, Travis.

TRAVIS LUX, BYLINE: Hi, Rachel.

MARTIN: Remind us what happened to Alton Sterling that night last year that has led us to this point.

LUX: July 5 last year, Sterling was selling CDs in the parking lot of the Triple S Food Mart. That's a convenient store in North Baton Rouge. Someone complained to the police that he threatened them with a gun. The police showed up, and there was an altercation. The rest was caught on video showing the white officers pinning Sterling, who's black, to the ground. Shots rang out, and Sterling was killed.

MARTIN: So we know now that the Department of Justice is not going to press charges against these police officers. Have you heard any reaction yet from Alton Sterling's family?

LUX: They were frustrated that they weren't given a heads up early. There were news reports that broke yesterday afternoon that the charges would not be brought against the officers. The Justice Department is expected to meet with the family today.

MARTIN: As you mentioned, the news that the Department of Justice wouldn't press charges against these officers broke last night. And there was a vigil held in Baton Rouge. You were there. What was that like?

LUX: People were actually in fairly positive spirits. There were some speakers. The family addressed the crowd asking for justice for Alton Sterling. The people who attended who were mostly hanging around talking. Some impromptu prayer circles broke out, and there were some singing as well. Mostly folks were just lingering and talking for a couple hours.

MARTIN: Travis Lux of member station WWNO. Travis, thanks very much.

LUX: Sure thing. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.