Blane Salamoni copy.jpg

Blane Salamoni

The Baton Rouge Police Department on Monday revealed that the agency recently investigated the conduct of Blane Salamoni during four incidents in June 2016 — the month before Salamoni shot and killed Alton Sterling — and issued the former officer a summons for simple battery on Friday after finding enough evidence to support the charge.

Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul announced last month his decision to fire Salamoni for violating department policy during the July 2016 shooting death of Sterling.

Salamoni's attorney said Sunday the department had issued Salamoni a summons on Friday for his conduct in a June 2016 incident. 

On Monday, the Baton Rouge Police Department released a statement indicating the summons was issued after a separate administrative review of four June 2016 incidents, completely independent of their investigation into the shooting of Sterling.

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In three of the incidents reviewed, the department found Salamoni used "profanity and demonstrated unprofessional behavior," according to the statement. In the fourth incident from June 10, 2016, the department found evidence to initiate a criminal investigation into Salamoni's conduct after finding he slapped a suspect "in the head while he was laying on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back."

The department also released video of the June 10, 2016 incident from Salamoni's body cameras showing show the pursuit of the suspect, Deandre Brooks, and his interaction with police — including the slap and his later arrest.

Baton Rouge Police officials became aware of Salamoni's body camera footage from those four incidents in a March meeting with the U.S. Attorney's Office, during which federal investigators shared their knowledge of the videos, according to the BRPD statement. The U.S. Attorney's Office first reviewed the footage months ago during its investigation into alleged federal civil rights violations by Salamoni and officer Howie Lake II, the other officer involved in the shooting of Sterling. The Department of Justice declined to pursue those charges in May 2017. 

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry also announced last month that neither officer would face state charges in Sterling's death.

The BRPD statement Monday says officers were responding to a domestic incident on June 10, 2016. After officers arrived on scene, Salamoni and another officer chased Brooks and soon apprehended him. The video shows a brief struggle between Salamoni and Brooks in which Salamoni handcuffs Brooks after advising the man to "Lay on your f****** stomach now; give me your f****** hands." Salamoni continues to use profanity during the remainder of the interaction. 

"You sure he's good?" Salamoni asks another officer during the incident. Brooks answers from the ground, "Yes, sir" and Salamoni replies, "I ain't talking to you … shut up" while slapping him on the back of the head.

That slap occurs around the 3:20 mark in the body camera footage recorded. 

Police said their internal investigation revealed that in Salamoni's report of the incident, the officer admitted he "forcefully pulled Mr. Brooks to the ground and delivered multiple straight closed fist punches to Mr. Brooks head until the other two officers were able to remove the weapon from his rear pocket." According to Salamoni's report, neither of the other officers involved struck Brooks while he was handcuffed. 

The videos that were released do not show the punches as described in the BRPD statement and in Salamoni's report. 

Brooks pleaded guilty to reduced charges in April 2017 and was sentenced to one year in jail with credit for time served. 

Salamoni's attorney said Sunday the police proceeded with issuing the summons even though Brooks had said he did not wish to pursue charges. 

On March 29, BRPD officials had called Salamoni in for an internal affairs hearing about the four June 2016 incidents. At the meeting, Salamoni refused to give a statement or to cooperate with the investigation, according to police. 

Salamoni's attorney Brant M. Mayer did not respond to requests for comment after reviewing the video footage. But he spoke about the summons on Sunday and questioned the timing of the case, which he said appears to be aimed at influencing Salamoni's termination appeal. That appeal remains pending before the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board. 

In addition to the June 10 footage that resulted in the summons, BRPD internal investigators looked at Salamoni's body camera videos from three other incidents around that time, including one on June 2, 2016, when he responded to a disturbance in the 1400 block of North 42nd Street and "used profanity and demonstrated unprofessional behavior."

They reviewed Salamoni's footage from an incident on June 3, 2016, when he responded to a call about a person held against their will at a motel on Florida Boulevard. As soon as Salamoni made contact with the suspect, he "used profanity and grabbed the subject around his neck and pressed his head against the wall," according to BRPD officials.

Investigators also reviewed footage from a call on June 4, 2016 about a man hanging out in the parking lot of a store on Gus Young Avenue. "Upon Officer Salamoni's arrival, he immediately exited his police cruiser and used profanity while speaking to suspects," the statement says. 

Follow Lea Skene on Twitter, @lea_skene.