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Howie Lake II

The appeal hearing for the second Baton Rouge police officer involved in the 2016 Alton Sterling shooting — who was suspended for his demeanor during the encounter — is set for next month. 

The hearing will review officer Howie Lake II's three-day suspension for violating the department's command of temper policy, a much more narrow review of the controversial and emotional shooting which sparked both nationwide and local protests about police brutality in 2016. 

The hearing is set for Sept. 19 before the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board, the public body that reviews all officer and firefighter discipline and hiring. 

Last week, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul announced a settlement agreement with former officer Blane Salamoni, the cop who fired the fatal shots that killed Sterling, avoiding the appeal of his termination going to a public hearing before the civil service board. The deal allowed Salamoni to resign in lieu of termination, without back pay. 

Lake's civil service hearing is only expected to last one day, unlike Salamoni's hearing which was scheduled for three. Board attorney Floyd Falcon said Thursday morning that Lake's hearing will focus primarily on Lake's language and conduct and should not rehash all details from the shooting. 

Lake has been back at the police department since serving his unpaid suspension in April 2018, following almost two years when he sat on paid administrative leave as federal and state officials investigated the shooting. Both declined to press criminal charges in the shooting. 

In his initial announcement of Salmoni's termination and Lake's suspension last year, Paul distinguished between the two officers' conduct during the encounter with Sterling, saying that Salamoni escalated the situation while Lake handled it more appropriately, even attempting to de-escalate, at times.  

Salamoni and Lake, both white, were attempting to arrest Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, on July 5, 2016, after a 911 call came in about a man selling CDs outside a convenience store on North Foster Drive who had threatened someone with a gun. Sterling matched the description and, after a brief struggle with the officers that lasted less than 90 seconds, Salamoni shot him six times.

Officers found a loaded handgun in Sterling's pocket after the shooting. 

BRPD officials did not find Lake in violation of their use of force policy — as they did Salamoni — but said he did not follow their command of temper policy. 

Email Grace Toohey at gtoohey@theadvocate.com.