Alton Sterling family angry after media reports

The family of Alton Sterling was angry after media reports surfaced indicating a decision had been made on whether to prosecute two Louisiana police officers in his death.

Sterling was outside a Baton Rouge convenience store on July 5 when officers responded to a report of a man with a gun outside the store. A bystander's video shows the police pinning Sterling, a black man, to the ground before shooting him -- leading to widespread criticism and renewed "Black Lives Matter" protests.

The Washington Post and The New York Times first reported Tuesday that multiple sources told them the US Justice Department, which led the investigation into the shooting, will close its investigation and not seek charges against the officers.  

The killing of Alton Sterling outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, gripped the nation.

Family members said they had been told they would get news of the decision before it was publicized. CNN has not independently confirmed the media reports, which cited unnamed sources.

The Justice Department's official statement Tuesday was there was no decision. Sterling family members, their attorneys, Louisiana's governor and Baton Rouge's mayor said they had received no word.

One of Sterling's aunts said she, too, had not heard from federal authorities. But she was upset by the reports that said the officers would not be charged.

"It's not right. Lord have Mercy. Oh my God," Sandra Sterling told CNN. 

Two attorneys for the Sterling family also told CNN on Tuesday evening they have not heard from the Justice Department on a decision in the case in which two white police officers were involved in the shooting while trying to detain Sterling.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told CNN the department has not communicated a decision to anyone. When there is a decision, the family will be notified first, and then the department will hold a news conference, she said.

The shootings set off protests across Baton Rouge and beyond and became an important chapter in the national discussion of how police interact with minorities. The officers -- Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II -- were placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting.

The mayor was upset by the reports, the first of which appeared in the Post.

"I am appalled that this news, whether true or false, has been disseminated without a formal decision being relayed to the Sterling family first. Also, no one in my office or the governor's office has been notified by the US attorney's office of a decision or timeline," Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said.

A spokesman for Gov. John Bel Edwards said he also was unaware of any decision. 

"The governor's office has not been notified of a timeline or decision regarding the Alton Sterling investigation," Richard Carbo said.

It is unclear whether the state will pursue charges. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry tweeted he will comment after an official Department of Justice announcement.

People gathered Tuesday outside the Triple S Food Mart, where Sterling was fatally shot, for a planned vigil.

Another of Alton Sterling's aunts expressed her disappointment to the crowd.

"We need closure. We need a conviction; we need justice," Vera Sterling said.

Adrian Long

Adrian Long

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