State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said Thursday he's asked for and expects two weeks advance notice before the U.S. Department of Justice publicly releases the results of its investigation into the July 2016 fatal shooting of Alton Sterling by a Baton Rouge policeman.
But Edmonson and other law enforcement and political leaders say that so far they have not received alerts about when to expect a decision on whether to charge either of the two officers involved in the Sterling case with federal civil rights violations.
A question mark looms over Baton Rouge about whether the decision will come under President Barack Obama's Department of Justice — which began the investigation in July — or whether it will carry over to President-Elect Donald Trump's DOJ.
Trump will be inaugurated January 20, which is two weeks away.
The cellphone videos of the July 5 confrontation that left Alton Sterling dead in the Triple…
Edmonson said his expectation of two-weeks advance notice is "not a definite" but "certainly a desire and a request that we made."
In the meantime, law enforcement, political and community leaders had a private meeting earlier this week called by newly installed Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, who shared details about the meeting on Thursday.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his guess is that the Justice Department will come out with its conclusions "sooner rather than later." He said that's why the meeting important, so law enforcement officials can be more prepared.
"I anticipate that we'll be given some notice," Moore said. "How long a time it is, I don't know."
Baton Rouge Police Department officers struggled with the 37-year-old Sterling in July outside a convenience store before one officer shot and killed him. Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II have been identified as the two Baton Rouge police officers involved in the incident, and are on leave from the department. A source has previously identified Salamoni as the officer who shot Sterling.
Cellphone videos of the shooting went viral and spurred protests from both local residents and outsiders about the incident and about police brutality against blacks. DOJ quickly took over the investigation into Sterling's death.
A few weeks later, a gunman opened fire and killed Baton Rouge Police Department Officer Matthew Gerald, BRPD Corporal Montrell Jackson and Sheriff's Deputy Brad Garafola, and injured three other officers.
The number of police killed in the line of duty rose sharply in 2016, driven by shootings of…
U.S. Attorney Walt Green, whose office is handling the probe into Sterling's death, declined to comment Thursday.
If federal prosecutors decline to pursue charges against the officers, the federal investigative files will be turned over to Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry to decide whether to pursue criminal charges under state law. Moore, whose office would typically handle state criminal cases stemming from shootings in the parish, recused himself from the Sterling case in July, citing long working relationships with Salamoni's parents, both of whom are career city police officers.
Handling protests and preventing violence after the results of the DOJ investigation are released were two of the major discussion points at the recent meeting with the mayor-president, attendees said. Broome has said she is holding a national search to replace BRPD Chief Carl Dabadie.
Broome wrote in a prepared statement that all parties during the meeting earlier this week "agreed changes must be made in order to move our community forward."
Referring to the discussion that took place at the meeting, Edmonson said: "There's some voices in Baton Rouge that just want to be heard. And that's the point: listening to learn, versus listening to respond."
Federal authorities announced Tuesday that the criminal investigation into the death of Alto…
Together Baton Rouge, a faith-based community organizing group, is planning to push for changes in BRPD this year. Some of Together Baton Rouge's leaders and members attended the meeting with Broome and law enforcement.
The group has asked that the future BRPD chief pledge to publicly support several changes. Together Baton Rouge wants the parish to create an independent police monitor, who would investigate misconduct and complaints into the police department but be hired, paid for and accountable to a non-police entity.
The group also wants a future chief to reform BRPD's use-of-force policies, increase racial diversity among the department, increase pay and hiring standards for officers and more.
The Rev. Richard Andrus, SVD, pastor at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, is on Together Baton Rouge's executive committee and attended the meeting.
When police officers are prosecuted for killing someone in the line of duty, their actions a…
"That was probably the biggest sign of hope ... they were open to it," Andrus said about law enforcement officials not pushing back against possible change.
He said the group focused on how law enforcement, community leaders and the religious community can work together in responding once the Sterling decision is handed down.
Regardless of the outcome, Andrus said he knows not everyone will be happy, but the group wants to ensure that "the best comes out of it for all of Baton Rouge."
Staff Writer Bryn Stole contributed to this report.