BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Four previous "use of force" complaints were lodged against the two white police officers in the video-recorded shooting death of a black man and they were cleared in all of them, according to internal affairs documents released Thursday.
The complaints included three black men and a black juvenile. One of the men was shot when police said he pointed a gun at them and the others were injured during arrests and a police pursuit in a vehicle.
The documents were released a day after the Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, who was killed by police during an altercation outside of a convenience store where he was selling CDs. Police say he was armed and an eyewitness said he had a gun in his pocket.
Sterling was a convicted felon, which would have barred him from legally carrying a gun, according to court records.
Cellphone video of his shooting was posted online and set off angry protests in this city of about 229,000, where 54 percent of the population is black and more than 25 percent live in poverty.
The officers involved are Blane Salamoni, a four-year member of the department, and Howie Lake II, who has been on the force for three years. Each had two prior "use of force" complaints.
Lake was involved in a police shooting in December 2014 when a black man refused to drop his gun, threatened to kill himself and pointed his revolver at officers. The man was wounded by police.
He also injured a combative black juvenile when they went to the ground during a struggle on April 19, 2014, according to documents. The juvenile cut his chin.
Salamoni's complaints involved punching a black man on Aug. 5, 2015, when he tried to grab the officer's stun gun and a vehicle pursuit on June 17, 2015, in which a black man was injured when he crashed into a retaining wall.
Separately, Salamoni was issued a letter of caution for his involvement in a "preventable crash" on June 13, 2012.