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Blane Salamoni

The local civil service board has approved a request to further delay an appeal hearing for former Baton Rouge police officer Blane Salamoni, who was fired for violating department policies during the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling in 2016. 

Salamoni opened fire during a struggle with Sterling, whose death ignited nationwide protests about police brutality after videos of the incident circulated on social media. 

Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul announced the termination decision last spring, and Salamoni appealed it before the civil service board, which oversees discipline for city police and firefighters.

The hearing — when the board will vote to either uphold or overturn the termination — has already been rescheduled multiple times. It was most recently slated for next week.

The board discussed setting a new hearing date during its meeting Thursday morning. The most recent joint motion to postpone it requested a new date within 60 days, but instead of setting a date immediately, board members decided to continue discussions at their regularly scheduled April board meeting next week.

Both parties could reach an alternative agreement before the next hearing date, which would allow the matter to be resolved without an appeal hearing. 

Howie Lake II, the other officer who responded the night of Sterling's death, was issued an unpaid suspension but has returned to the force. He used a stun gun on Sterling, who was found to be armed, but did not discharge his firearm. 

Lake has also appealed his discipline, but board members have agreed that his hearing should take place after Salamoni's because of overlapping information.

Salamoni is also facing a civil suit filed in 2017 on behalf of Alton Sterling's five children. That also remains unresolved, but attorneys said this week they have begun preliminary settlement talks and are hoping to avoid taking the case to trial. 

Follow Lea Skene on Twitter, @lea_skene.