Suspect turned & fired at officer. Fearing for his safety, officer returned fire striking the suspect, fatally wounding him.
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI—“I am Darren Wilson.”
The slogan is all over the St. Louis metropolitan area: on T-shirts worn by soccer moms, on rubber bracelets worn by police officers, on signs held by their wives. “I am Darren Wilson,” they proclaim, in a show of affinity with the white police officer who shot black teenager Michael Brown to death in the street in Ferguson, Missouri on Aug. 9. “I am Darren Wilson,” they affirm, as St. Louis waits for a grand jury to rule whether the most infamous police officer in America will be indicted.
Everyone in St. Louis is afraid. The discrepancy in what they fear is tearing the region apart. Ferguson protesters—and much of black St. Louis—fear the police. They fear officers like Wilson, whom they believe view black men as inherently threatening and deserving of lethal force. Since Aug. 9, protesters have proclaimed “I am Michael Brown” and mimicked the “hands up” gesture he allegedly made before he died. “I am Michael Brown” is the grim corollary to their other rallying cry: “Black lives matter.”Protester car with slogan “I am Mike Brown.” Ferguson, Missouri, Sept. 30.(Sarah Kendzior)
Those who claim “I am Darren Wilson” say they stand in solidarity not just Wilson, but also with law enforcement. To support Darren Wilson, the refrain goes, is to support law, order and due process. But underlying the phrase “I am Darren Wilson” is a different kind of fear. It is fear of disenfranchisement, chaos, and criminality. It is a fear of black youth and black self-determination. This fear structures not only the geography of St. Louis, but also the regions beyond.
Today the base of Wilson support comes not from St. Louis, but rather neighboring St. Charles County, where white St. Louisans began to migrate en masse at the turn of the 21st century following the arrival of blacks in suburban St. Louis. The Wilson case is the culmination of decades of the racial politics of fear, which dictate everything from where people live and how they treat each other to whom they view as the antagonist in the Ferguson events. While the grand jury has until mid-November to rule on an indictment, rumor is that it will happen soon. St. Louis is a region on edge, united only in anticipation that the worst is still to come.
Social media and segregation
On Oct. 10-13, St. Louis hosted a “Weekend of Resistance,” during which thousands of activists descended upon the city in support of Michael Brown and his family. That same weekend in St. Charles, supporters of Darren Wilson held a bowling night to support Wilson’s defense fund. They announced the event on a Darren Wilson Facebook support group with over 80,000 members. It is one of many Wilson support groups with membership in the tens of thousands.
Social media is one of the few spaces in St. Louis not subject to segregation. This raucous online debate often stands in contrast to what area residents are unwilling to say to each other in public.
Die-hard Wilson supporters share a specific terminology. The protesters are called “terrorists,” sometimes “treasonous terrorists.” Groups of black protesters are described as a “lynch mob” targeting whites. Looting, which has been rare during the months of protest, is emphasized. The characterization of the protesters by Wilson supporters reflects both whites’ rationale for fleeing St. Louis and Wilson’s for killing Michael Brown: fear of black crime.Graphic found on a “Support Darren Wilson” Facebook page
One Wilson supporter, a lifelong North County resident who is white and asked to remain anonymous, explained his perspective in an email:
“Demanding Wilson’s arrest before that process is completed is akin to a lynch mob and would circumvent our sacred process of actual justice. All the racist chants, death threats, harassment, interruption of travel and commerce and general terror have become an insurrection and must be stopped… Interrupting commerce and disrupting normal working citizen’s lives is not what the founders had in mind when our right to protest was protected. They also didn’t envision mobs of people screaming racist vile [sic] and chanting death threats against our police.”1
Geography of fear
The geography of St. Louis is carved by racial politics. Many of the residents of St. Charles County—where Wilson claims his base of support—grew up in St. Louis’s North County, the series of suburbs north of the city, which includes Ferguson. Once a white, blue-collar hub, North County underwent a dramatic demographic shift in the 1980s and 1990s as black St. Louis families fled the decay of the inner city.
As St. Louis County became more black and saw its population stagnate, the white population of St. Charles County surged, from 144,107 in 1980 to 360,485 in 2013. The population of O’Fallon, Missouri rose from 8,677 in 1980 to 82,209 in 2010. Nearby Wentzville rose from 3,193 in 1980 to 29,070 in 2013. Wentzville is now home to a General Motors plant that created hundreds of jobs in 2014, in contrast to the closed-down factories whose rusting skeletons loom over St. Louis’s majority black neighborhoods.
As St. Louis endures a seemingly eternal recession, St. Charles County is booming. Drive down its main roads and you see open farmland on one side and construction sites on the other, with far fewer of the payday loan stores and pawn shops that line St. Louis’s streets. To many, St. Charles County, located across the Missouri River, looks like the promised land.
St. Charles County is almost entirely white.A subdivision under construction in booming St. Charles County.(Sarah Kendzior)
“I felt I made the right decision as soon as I came out here,” says Carmen Mannino, owner of Mannino’s Market in Cottleville, MO. “People came in the store and welcomed me with open arms. I came here in 1998. When I moved, people said, ‘Why do you want to move to Cottleville? There’s nothing out there.’ There were no businesses out here. And now look at it.”
In 1939, Mannino’s grandfather made the journey from Palermo, Italy, to Ferguson, Missouri. He remembers fondly the store’s North County heyday and says the family had good relationships with black employees and customers.
“We had old-timers who respected my dad so much,” Mannino recalls. “They had respect for people. The people were just amazing back then. But I saw a lot of the change when I was there. I started being afraid to leave my mom or my wife outside the door. There were drug deals and fights and we looked at each other and said, ‘We have to get out of here.’”
Mannino’s is one of many North County businesses that fled to St. Charles County following the demographic shift in the 1980s. Others include Faraci Pizza—whose owners at the remaining Ferguson branch have clashed with protesters—Old Town Donuts, Pironnes Pizza, and Fritz’s Frozen Custard. Families who grew up in a white North County are reliving their childhood memories in a white St. Charles.
Darren Wilson, the victim
Fear of black crime goes hand in hand with assertions of white victimhood, and there is no greater victim, in the view of Darren Wilson supporters, than the police.
“We support Darren, a law enforcement officer,” explains Tiffany (who asked to be identified by her first name only out of fear for her personal safety), the organizer of the Facebook page “I Support Darren Wilson,” which has over 76,000 followers. “We support the men and women, of all ethnic backgrounds, that have worked countless hours to keep the peace as much as possible in and around Ferguson and St. Louis.
“I would argue that calling me racist because I support law enforcement is a racial slur itself,” she continues. “How do you lump me and our supporters on this page into one giant ‘racial pool’ yet be mad that you think people are calling you a thug because your skin color is darker than mine? Yes, we have had struggles in the past with racism. But it is 2014. Why are people so hell-bent on staying in the past? Let’s move forward. Let’s educate each other.”
Tiffany, like many Wilson supporters, lives not in St. Louis but “a couple hours out.” She says the Facebook group consists of “all races” and believes that the media, led astray by Reverend Al Sharpton, has unfairly characterized Wilson supporters: “[The media made] this a racial issue of a ‘white officer shooting an unarmed black teenager.’ This all could have gone a completely different direction had the media portrayed it as a ‘police officer involved shooting of a robbery suspect.’”
Some Wilson supporters believe there is a hidden narrative of events. Tiffany believes the media “refuse to show the videos of the protesters/domestic terrorists pointing guns at police officers and threatening them.” (No such videos are known to exist.) Other Wilson supporters cite the protesters’ own materials—the livestream of demonstrations or signs calling to end police brutality—as evidence of wrong-doing.
St. Charles County residents frequently name crime as the reason for their flight from North County and other majority black areas of St. Louis. But according to many residents, crime in St. Charles County is significant. Only the suspects look different.
“We moved out here to get away from crime, but crime out here is just as bad,” says Dave Patek, an office worker who grew up in North County but now works in St. Charles County. “There are still break-ins, domestic violence, robberies. We have a meth problem. Everything is the same, our Walmarts look the same.”
Many middle-aged St. Charles residents grew up in integrated North County towns, like Ferguson, that also experienced rapid economic decline. Avoiding the fate of North County is the goal—but the past travels with them.
The side of the law
Many local whites prefer not to identify themselves as Wilson supporters, but as supporters of law and order. But supporting the rule of law, in a region like St. Louis, is racially loaded. Ferguson protesters’ central complaint is that rule of law is selectively applied and ruthlessly abused.
Faith in law enforcement has migrated to St. Charles County along with the people it protects.
Unsurprisingly, law enforcement officials are among the most loyal Wilson supporters. As with other supporters, there is a wide range in their rationales. Many echo the sentiment of the Wilson fan pages, that framing this as a race issue is itself racist. One officer who grew up in St. Louis County but now lives in St. Charles County, and asked to remain anonymous says: “Police officers have a very difficult time no matter what city. This case would never be an issue if Darren Wilson were a black male. The African-Americans in Ferguson chose to make this a racial issue.”
But Mark Whitson, a former police officer recently retired from 35 years in the St. Louis County Police Department, believes officer education on racial politics is itself a problem. He recalls a class he taught on law enforcement: “I pointed out the socio-historical environment where all contacts with the public take place. A major on the department pointed out the advancements and changes that have occurred since slavery ended, through the 1950s and ’60s. I agreed with him, but believe that is no reason to stop.”
When asked whether Wilson should be indicted, this officer replied he should not be and will not be. Legal analysts share the view that a non-indictment is likely, particularly given that the prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, failed to bring about an indictment in prior officer-involved shootings.
Region on the run
Every Tuesday night since Sept. 23, dozens of protesters, nearly all black, have shared their concerns with the St. Louis County Council, most of whom are white. They speak, tearfully, of the death of Brown and police violence against the citizens who protest it. Older black St. Louisans note the racism their families have experienced for generations, while younger St. Louisans decry their lack of opportunity. Few see a future in a city where the past is always present.A packed Sept. 23 meeting of the St. Louis County Council. Speaker had asked everyone who had been tear-gassed to stand. This is a fraction of the standing crowd.(Sarah Kendzior)Police officer stands outside Faraci Pizza in Ferguson, Missouri, as white residents feud with black protesters. Sept. 30, 2014.(Sarah Kendzior)
Halfway through the Oct. 7 meeting, a white St. Louis resident shouted “We support Darren Wilson!” At previous meetings, this resident had called protesters “crazies” and Captain Ron Johnson, the officer overseeing Ferguson policing until recently, “Mr. Hug-a-Thug.” The protesters in the audience shouted back, clapping and stomping: “If we don’t get it, shut it down!”—a common refrain indicating protesters’ refusal to accept a non-indictment in the Wilson case and police brutality toward blacks in general.
Police guarding the meeting asked the predominantly black protesters to leave, then followed them down the escalator and locked them out of the building. The white Wilson supporter was allowed to stay.
One of the protesters escorted out of the building was Molly Greider. She is one of few white protesters who regularly attend Ferguson demonstrations. She has tried to explain to other white people in her office, some of whom support Wilson, why they should join the protests.Protesters ask an officer why they were locked out of the St. Louis County Council meeting. Oct. 7, 2014.(Sarah Kendzior)
“They told me ‘You might get killed or looted.’ I was like, can you loot a person?” she recalls. “It was almost like they never met a black person, even though they had. They might know black people but they’ve never discussed these issues with them. One person listed the cleaning people in the building as their black friends. But they were nice, there was not a lot of angry pushback. It was good that they wanted to talk about it.”
When asked why they support Darren Wilson, each supporter gives an answer rooted in fear. Police officers discuss the fear they feel with a potentially dangerous suspect. White citizens are afraid of protesters, whom they view as an unruly, angry mob ready to strike. St. Charles residents describe their fear of Ferguson and the surrounding North County area, which they had left due to fear of crime.
Asked why more white people do not support the protests, Greider gives the same answer: fear.
“It stems from the fear that they will become oppressed,” she says. “Most people think they have to give something up for somebody else to have something. I think that white people have a problem with the idea of black people demanding anything.”
St. Louis is a city long on the run from itself. White flight has spread from suburbia to exurbia, while decades of black demands—for better jobs, better schools, better treatment—go unheeded. This is a region deprived of resources, forcing residents to scrounge for more fertile terrain.
Fear keeps people on the run. But they can only keep moving for so long.
More proof that at least 90% of the #IAmDarrenWilson supporters are racist in some fashion.
H/T: Sarah Kendzior and Umar Lee at qz.com
An altercation Sunday between fans leaving the St. Louis Rams game and Ferguson protesters demonstrating outside the stadium led to the arrests of two protesters.
An altercation Sunday between fans leaving the St. Louis Rams game and Ferguson protesters demonstrating outside the stadium led to the arrests of two protesters. Reports from the scene state that while fans were arguing with protesters, one man spit at protesters, causing fans from the game to start mixing it up with protesters. At that point, one of the protesters swung a pole with an upside-down American flag at an individual. Shortly afterwards, the same man tried to grab the flag and run away with it, which led to protesters grabbing it back from him. Eventually, two women were arrested for assault, both being protesters.
One image that will likely get a lot of attention is a photo taken by David Carson, a photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It shows the man that tried to run away with the flag being struck by the flagpole. Many people were tweeting out either just the photo or the Post article with the accompanying image.
A Rams fan reportedly spit on a Ferguson protester after the team’s win today, and it was on after that. http://t.co/qhbkjpEYEV
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) October 19, 2014
Be prepared for white conservatives to use the image as a meme to push the notion that the mostly black protesters who are seeking justice for Michael Brown are violent thugs. Also, the imagery of the flag is always a rallying cry for right-wingers, and they will support the fan who tried to run off with it. People that were directly involved and on the scene point out that fans from the game confronted the protesters and caused the situation to grow more heated. Alcohol seemed to be a key factor in the Rams fans behavior.
— Tim Eastman (@TimBEastman) October 19, 2014
Guy just walked by chanting “Wilson is innocent,” throwing his arms up in the air. #Ferguson
— Tim Eastman (@TimBEastman) October 19, 2014
Sean Jordan, a white protester who has been involved in a number of protests in the St. Louis area, also tweeted out that fans were far nicer to him and his family than the black protesters.
I think having a white family involved in the protests made some people shout fewer profanities for the sake of the white kids. Seriously.
— Sean Jordan (@seanjjordan) October 19, 2014
The crowds were far nicer to us than they were to any of the black protesters, children included. It was eye-opening.
— Sean Jordan (@seanjjordan) October 19, 2014
In the end, the mainstream media will likely continue the narrative that protesters resorted to violence in their demonstrations while simultaneously being overly confrontational with ‘normal’ people who were just minding their own business. Conveniently, the behavior from those confronting the protesters will be downplayed or not even mentioned. The focus will be squarely on the largely black protesters and their actions. Ah, the benefits of white privilege.
Source: Justin Baragona for PoliticusUSA
People From Around The World Gather In St. Louis For #FergusonOctober March Against Police Brutality
Activists and protesters from all over the world gathered Saturday morning in downtown St. Louis to participate in a march, part of Ferguson October, and show that they stand united against police brutality and racial disparity. The rally started at 10 AM local time and the protesters began marching through the streets shortly after 11 AM. Crowd estimates range anywhere from 1,200 to over 3,000. Organizers of the march had estimated as many as 8,000 participants to be at the event. One thing is certain — people traveled from far and wide to be in St. Louis Saturday.
Prior to the rally, I spoke with Jasmine Falls, a nurse and labor representative from St. Louis, She informed me that roughly 200 nurses, some traveling from as far as California, were participating in the march. Beside the National Nurses Organizing Committee and the California Nurses Association, Jasmine also pointed out that representatives from the Chicago Teachers Union were taking part in the rally and march. Ms. Falls is currently the only labor rep for the 890 union nurses in the St. Louis area. At this moment, only two area hospitals have unionized nurses, but Jasmine is hoping that will change.
Organizations from New York, Oakland, Kansas City and other large metropolitan areas sent representatives to stand in solidarity with the Ferguson protesters. Nations that have suffered through oppression also had people show up for the march. A number of Palestinians attended the march and rally. The same was true of South Africa. Activists from both parts of the world were active and loud throughout the day. Legal observers were on the ground to ensure there were no issues between police and marchers. Amnesty International made sure to make their presence known.
One scene-stealer during the march was a large, paper-mache puppet of Michael Brown. The artist’s concept was to make a likeness that wasn’t seen as degrading or exploitative. Basically, the idea was to show Brown with his hands raised, but on a very large-scale. The concept worked, and the large puppet made a huge impact during the march and at the post-march rally.
During the post-march rally, which took place in St. Louis’ Kiener Plaza, I was able to sit down and talk to a couple of educators from Berea College. The had traveled with their students from Berea, Kentucky to be at the Weekend of Resistance. Monica Jones, the director of the school’s Black Culture Center, and Dr. Alicestyne Turley, an assistant professor and director, both expressed admiration for the young people in Ferguson. They stated that it was amazing how much tireless energy they’ve exhibited in the seeking justice for Brown since he was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. Both women were impressed with the determination many young activists have had in organizing and energizing others to get behind their cause.
A number of people got up to speak at the post-march rally. St. Louis music artist Tef Poe started things off with a rallying cry. A number of other activists from Ferguson, who have tirelessly protested these past two months, also took turns speaking. The family of VonDerrit Myers were also present. Myers was shot and killed by a St. Louis police officer earlier this week. St. Louis police claim that Myers, 18 at the time of his death, shot at the off-duty police officer after the officer tried to conduct a ‘pedestrian check.’ The officer shot at Myers 17 times, hitting him with at least six shots.
Ferguson October continues through Monday. There are still a number of events still planned.
Below is a gallery of photos taken from the march:
Happening Now (10.11.14): It’s bigger than Ferguson. We fighting for justice, a living wage, unions, climate change, and the disenfranchised around the world. Making a moment a movement. #staywoke #fergusonoctober
#Ferguson Protests Update: Shaw Edition (10.09.2014, 11:33PM CDT): Shaw area getting really tense
All of us jus got mased ..— Tef Poe/FootKlan (@TefPoe) October 10, 2014
Apparently STL PD is now pepper spraying media.— Mustafa of ArgusNews (@ArgusRadio) October 10, 2014
Events unfolding after #shawshooting will be interesting test of Mayor Francis Slay’s leadership.— Nicholas J.C. Pistor (@nickpistor) October 10, 2014
Pepper spray has been used by police to disperse protesters on Grand. People are also saying they’ve been hit with batons. #shawshooting— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) October 10, 2014
BREAKING: @Rebelutionary_Z was directly sprayed in the eyes by police officer.— Argus Streaming News (@argusnewsnow) October 10, 2014
Someone threw a rock at The Medicine Shoppe window.— Bridjes O’Neil (@BridjesONeil) October 10, 2014
Police line. pic.twitter.com/iICKh17JDH— Valerie Schremp Hahn (@valeriehahn) October 10, 2014
I ran to get a cord. There are even more police still arriving. They’ve arrested like 4+ people. Helicopter overhead.— deray mckesson (@deray) October 10, 2014
People ask for info then get mad. Dang if you do dang if you don’t, however I’ll stay committed to reporting facts.— Brittany Noble-Jones (@BrittanyNoble) October 10, 2014
Another selfish tweet from a Shaw resident: It’s the protestors that are scaring me tonight, not the police officers.— Danielle Hohmeier (@daniellesmyname) October 10, 2014
Most of the radical, violent protesters aren’t from around here. Police will continue to protect those we serve by confronting criminals.— Captain Dan Howard (@CaptainDan301) October 10, 2014
Trying to leave on foot, a cop car is following us and shining a light in my face bc I was videotaping their cars. Smh. #shawshooting— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) October 10, 2014
Medicine Shoppe window was broken out. Small group comes to check on the store. pic.twitter.com/ECNqFpxisb— Argus Streaming News (@argusnewsnow) October 10, 2014
These vehicles with tactical officers have just turned back north on Grand and are leaving the scene. pic.twitter.com/O0oo82aDsD— Ronald Wade (@RonaldWWade) October 10, 2014
Moments after the protesters passed, the normal Thurs night happenings on south grand have resumed pic.twitter.com/xD4l9WwX6s— Emma Brown (@EmmaBBrown12) October 10, 2014
From Grand/Gavois Schnucks parking lot. Protesters in Gravois. pic.twitter.com/i3dzfpBQoP— Valerie Schremp Hahn (@valeriehahn) October 10, 2014
Officers now in the lot of Shnuck’s. pic.twitter.com/YkmjRBeLgg— deray mckesson (@deray) October 10, 2014
St. Louis Police chief Sam Dotson provided a detailed description of the shooting, in which an off-duty police officer working for a private security firm (but was wearing his uniform) shot 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers, Jr., who has been identified by his family but not the police.
The officer had spotted three black males, who ran from him, and pursued one of them on foot.
"When the officer went through the gangway, he saw the three gentlemen had come back together," Dotson said. "One of the gentleman started to approach the officer in an aggressive manner. The officer was giving verbal commands, telling them to stop, telling them how to surrender, telling them that they were under arrest. The suspect continued to come towards the officer until they got into a physical altercation. The suspect and the officer were hands on with each other. At that time, the suspect’s gray hooded sweatshirt comes off and the suspect starts to run up a hill at the address on Shaw."
The officer believed he saw a gun on Myer’s person, but wanted to be sure, Dotson said.
"The suspect pointed the gun at the officer and fired at least three rounds at the police officer. We believe this to be true because there are three projectiles that we recovered with trajectories going towards the officer, down the hill, and one piece of ballistic evidence located behind the officer," Dotson said. "At that point, the officer returned fire. As the officer moved towards the suspect, the suspect continued to pull the trigger on his gun."
The officer fired 17 shots. It’s not clear how many times Myers was struck.
VONDERRIT MYERS, JR.
St. Louis police did not release much information overnight about Myers or formally identify him, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that the teen was set to stand trial next month for unlawful use of a weapon.
Myer’s family, however, is contending that he was unarmed and had been “Tased” by the officer prior to being shot.
Dotson had initially declined to provide information on Myers, but, while still refusing to identify him, then said that he was “no stranger to law enforcement” on Thursday, according to the Post-Dispatch.
The newspaper reported that Myers was set to stand trial in November on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest. As a condition of bail, he was supposed to be under house arrest and wearing an ankle bracelet. Nothing in his file suggested that he has previously broken the rules of his house arrest, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Myers’ family said that he had been unarmed and leaving a convenience store after buying a sandwich when he was caught up in a police chase that didn’t involve him, according to the newspaper, based on the family’s own discussions with witnesses.
“My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich. Security was supposedly searching for someone else. They Tased him,” Jackie Williams, his uncle, said. “I don’t know how this happened, but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.”
The officer in the shooting has not been publicly identified. The police told the Post-Dispatch that the officer did not have a Taser, in response to the comments from Myers’s family.
Reuters, CNN, the Los Angeles Times and other news outlets identify him as a white male. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives no indication of the officer’s race. The AP says he is 32 years old and “a six-year veteran of the St. Louis police force whose race wasn’t immediately disclosed.”
h/t: Dylan Scott at TPM
BREAKING: 18-Year-Old African-American Teenager Vonderrit Myers, Jr. Killed Overnight By 17 Gunshots By White St. Louis Police Officer, Less Than 10 Miles From Where Ferguson PD Officer Darren Wilson Killed Michael Brown Two Months Earlier, Officer’s Name Is Still Unknown, Family Claims Vonderrit Was Unarmed, Contrary To Police’s Story
An 18-year-old man has died after an off-duty police officer shot at him 17 times - just miles from where unarmed teen Michael Brown was gunned down by a cop in August.
Police said that Vonderrit Myers Jr. first opened fire on the unidentified 32-year-old officer in Shaw, Missouri, which is less than 10 miles from Ferguson, where Brown was shot dead on August 9.
The officer, who is a six-year veteran of the force, was in a car working a secondary job for a private security company and paroling the area when he saw three males in the street and thought they were acting suspiciously, St Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said in a press conference.
As he approached them, one of them started to run away, so the officer did a U-turn and then all three ran, Dotson said, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
'One of them ran in a way that the officer believed that he was armed with a gun – holding his waist band, not running at full stride,' Dotson said, referring to Myers.
The officer, who was wearing a Metropolitan Police Department uniform, jumped out of his car and chased them on foot before getting into a scuffle with Myers, who reached for his gun, Dotson said.
Myers shot at least three times at the officer, who then returned fire - and when the teenager tried to fire again, his gun jammed, Dotson said.
The officer, a white male, then fired 17 times at the teenager - but it is not yet known how many times he was struck and Dotson said he doesn’t know why he fired so many times. He died from his injuries.
Police recovered a 9mm Ruger at the scene, he said.
The officer was working for Hi-Tech Security, which employs several St. Louis police officers in secondary jobs. He was patrolling the neighborhood on behalf of the company rather than the Metropolitan Police Department but was wearing his police officer’s uniform.
Dispute: Myers, pictured, was just buying a sandwich before he was chased and shot dead, his family said
Street fight: Cops say that the teen shot at the off-duty office first and then he shot back, killing him
Backup: The 32-year-old officer, who has not been identified, was not on duty when he shot the boy
Protest: People at the scene put up their hands, like the protesters who showed they were not armed in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown. Protests still continue in the area following that death in August
He has been placed on administrative leave and an investigation is underway. He was not hurt.
Dotson said that the 18-year-old was ‘no stranger to law enforcement’, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
He was wearing an ankle bracelet at the time as a condition of bail in a gun case, according to his lawyer and police, the Post-Dispatch reported.
His family said he was still in high school and disputed police claims that he was armed.
'He was unarmed,' said his cousin, Teyonna Myers, to the Post-Dispatch. ’He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It’s like Michael Brown all over again.’
The boy’s uncle, Jackie Williams, also says he is not buying the story being told by police.
'My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich. Security was supposedly searching for someone else. They Tased him,' Williams said.
'I don’t know how this happened, but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.'
Officers are claiming they recovered a gun at the scene and that the officer did not have a Taser.
Another man, Lavell Boyd, who lives in the neighborhood, claimed to hear as many as 15 shots fired.
Nearby: The incident unfolded less than 10 miles from where Michael brown (above) was killed in Ferguson
'When I pulled up I saw the cop standing over him [Myers] then he pointed the gun at everyone else telling everyone to get back while he was searching for another clip,' Boyd said.
It has been reported that the officer was not harmed.
This comes just days after St. Louis Cardinals fans were seen screaming racial insults at protesters in the city.
David Carson, a photographer for the Post-Dispatch, reports that protesters filled the streets near where the shooting happened and have been chanting ‘Black lives matter.’
Some also vandalized a police SUV as they chanted ‘F*** the police.’
Police say the man fired at the officer first. Reports conflicted about how many times the man was shot.
A St. Louis Police officer reportedly shot and killed a young man Wednesday evening.
The shooting happened after a police officer attempted to do a “pedestrian check” on four men. The men fled, with the officer pursuing one of them. According to tweets from the St. Louis Police Department, the man fired as he ran, then was killed when the officer shot back.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the man was in his 20s.
Witnesses at the scene identified the man as Vonderrick Myers, The Post-Dispatchreported.
According to The Post-Dispatch, the officer was off duty and working a secondary job as a security officer when the shooting happened. Police told the paper the officer has been with the St. Louis Police Department for six years and is 32-years-old.
The St. Louis Police Department did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.
The shooting reportedly happened at the intersection of Klemm St. and Shaw Blvd.Google / Via google.com
Soon after the shooting, a large crowd gathered at the scene.
Despite police reports that the man fired first, many at the scene claimed he was in fact unarmed. Teyonna Myers told The Post-Dispatch that police only thought Myers had a gun.
“He was unarmed,” Teyonna Myers told the paper. “He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It’s like Michael Brown all over again.”
Some at the scene reported that Myers was shot as many as 16 times.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
BREAKING: @TheAnonMessage: Witnesses confirm victim Vonderrick Myers shot 16 times by police. He was still getting shot while he was down. No EMS called. #Ferguson
BREAKING: Jim Dalrymple II of Buzzfeed News confirms that a 32-year-old white St. Louis police officer shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old African-American Vonderrick Myers. The officer’s name has not been released yet. Here we fucking go again.
- In 2013 STL cop stops man for “pedestrian…
#Ferguson Protests Update (09.27.2014, 11:36PM CDT): Shooting is NOT connected to protests; Fox2’s Elliott Davis gets a less than warm welcome by protestors
This shooting is NOT connected to protests.— Alexis (@MusicOverPeople) September 28, 2014
Stamdoff between police, protesters at W Florissant-Stein near site of police shooting. #Ferguson— stevegiegerich (@stevegiegerich) September 28, 2014
Apparently the police at the #Ferguson PD it’s popping off.— deray mckesson (@deray) September 28, 2014
Johnson arrived. He told the crowd no one other than the officer was shot. Then told them to leave, saying that would be their only warning.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) September 28, 2014
Things relatively quiet at corner of Stein and W Florissant. Police continue to block off Stein. #Ferguson— Willis Arnold (@WillisRArnold) September 28, 2014
For the last 30 mins, we’ve been trying to keep the peace between police and a large group angry at reports that police killed the suspect.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) September 28, 2014
We suggested everyone go to the police station for an organized protest. Most have left. That’s where I’m going now.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) September 28, 2014
NEW: Captain Johnson says only person shot is officer - no one else. Reports of suspect shot/killed NOT CONFIRMED by officials. #BREAKING— Nichole Berlie KSDK (@NicholeBerlie) September 28, 2014
Major police presence at intersections. Police with assault rifles. pic.twitter.com/SdxFtAkC6r— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) September 28, 2014
#BREAKING Police officer shot in Ferguson was taken to Barnes Jewish Hospital. Officials say the officer will be ok. Suspect still at large.— KSDK NewsChannel 5 (@ksdknews) September 28, 2014
Police officer shot… NOT dead. West Florissant closed from just past Wal-Mart down through Dellwood. Protestors told to leave #Ferguson— St. Louis American (@StLouisAmerican) September 28, 2014
Observers say shooter may have escaped into woods near police staging area - St. Peter’s Evangelical United Chch of Christ #Ferguson— stevegiegerich (@stevegiegerich) September 28, 2014
Now there are conflicting reports saying that the guy was killed and others are saying still at large. Eyes on #Ferguson— OccupySantaFe (@OccupySantaFe) September 28, 2014
#BREAKING Manhunt underway for the person who shot a Ferguson police officer. Officer is expected to be ok. Parts of W. Florissant shutdown— KSDK NewsChannel 5 (@ksdknews) September 28, 2014
Police are running into the neighborhood. It’s a no outlet street. At least 40 just ran. #Ferguson— deray mckesson (@deray) September 28, 2014
It was a sight to see ALL of the officers run. ALL of them. Johnson and Belmar remain. #Ferguson— deray mckesson (@deray) September 28, 2014
Hearing that they have caught the suspect but that he may be alive. #Ferguson— deray mckesson (@deray) September 28, 2014
Please stop spreading what you heard as truth in these tense situations, folks— Patricia Bynes (@Patricialicious) September 28, 2014
Elliot Davis is talking about representing the locals properly in media but the protestors argument is that it hasn’t been happening— Naima (@NaiYorkCity) September 28, 2014
They asked Elliot Davis legitimate questions about the frustration of the protestors, etc - beat all around the bush.— Naima (@NaiYorkCity) September 28, 2014
Apparently a kid died in Dellwood that was not the shooter. 12 years old. Two incidents, not one. #Ferguson— deray mckesson (@deray) September 28, 2014
All of the rumors we are hearing is that a 12 year old bot was shot. Unrelated to the police shooting. #Ferguson— deray mckesson (@deray) September 28, 2014
No local St Louis TV covering shootings tonight (allegedly of cop and protester) in #Ferguson. Why Twitter vital.— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) September 28, 2014
Capt Ron Johnson has arrived at #Ferguson police station where protesters have gathered.— Nicholas J.C. Pistor (@nickpistor) September 28, 2014
They are allowing two separate incidents to be melded and regarded as one. This is purposeful. Pay attention. #Ferguson— Charles Wade (@akacharleswade) September 28, 2014
Apparently people heard Capt. Johnson said, “The threats will end tonight.” They think he is going to gas us. #Ferguson— deray mckesson (@deray) September 28, 2014
Protesters from across St Louis turned up and turned out for the first St Louis County Council Meeting since Mike Brown’s Death. (Part I)
The St Louis County Council wasn’t as bad as Ferguson’s Council, but still very few answers and virtually no accountability from the folks who unleashed unholy hell on the residents of Ferguson, following Brown’s murder. #staywoke #farfromover
KEEP POSTING I NEED TO KNOW! DONT STOP POSTING ABOUT THIS. IT IS NOT OVER!
To get a sense of the fracture that cuts this city in two, drive along Delmar Boulevard, a major four-lane road that runs east to west. Hit the brakes when you see an Aldi grocery store and put your finger on the blinker. Decide which world to enter.
In the blocks to the immediate south: Tudor homes, wine bars, a racquet club, a furniture store selling sofas for $6,000. The neighborhood, according to U.S. Census data, is 70 percent white.
In the blocks to the immediate north: knocked-over street signs, collapsing houses, fluttering trash, tree-bare streets with weeds blooming from the sidewalk. The neighborhood is 99 percent black.
The geography of almost every U.S. city reveals at least some degree of segregation, but in St. Louis, the break between races — and privilege — is particularly drastic, so defined that those on both sides speak often about a precise boundary. The Delmar Divide, they call it, and it stands as a symbol of the disconnect that for years has bred grievances and frustrations, emotions that exploded into public view on the streets of the majority-black suburb of Ferguson after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager. Ferguson is north of Delmar; the suburb of Crestwood, where the officer lives, is south.
Even the way people perceive the Aug. 9 shooting and the street protests that have followed is influenced by geography.
“I’m one of those people that feels sorry for the officer,” said Paul Ruppel, 41, a white business owner who lives just to the south of the divide. “For the most part, I believe the police of St. Louis are doing a great job.”
Said Alvonia Crayton, an African American woman who lives just to the north of Delmar: “My reaction is, what took them so long? Michael Brown was basically the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
St. Louis’s geographic divide stems from a legacy of segregation — legal and illegal — and more recent economic stratification that has had the effect of reinforcing racial separation. Even now, some tony suburbs maintain large-lot single-family zoning, essentially closing the door to lower-earners who might want to subdivide a property.
St. Louis, its urban center hollowed out, has had far less of the gentrification that has transformed other Rust Belt cities, including Chicago and Pittsburgh. Look at a map of St. Louis, color-coded by race, and majority-African American communities sit almost exclusively to the north — that is, above Delmar.
“You have a division between the haves and have-nots,” commented Carol Camp Yeakey, founding director of the Center on Urban Research & Public Policy and Interdisciplinary Program in Urban Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. “People on one side are prospering, and the people on the other side are not.”
The divide is hardly absolute. Middle-class and well-off African American families are scattered throughout the northern part of the city and St. Louis County. Some areas, like University City and Florissant, have long been considered appealing places to live.
Researchers from Washington University and Saint Louis University highlighted the “Delmar Divide” in a lengthy report on the city’s disparities published this year. They analyzed the data of abutting, several-square-block areas north and south of Delmar, right near the Aldi. To the south, home values were $310,000 on average, and 67 percent of adults had bachelor’s degrees. To the north, home values were $78,000. Only one in 20 had college degrees.
Although the divide spans most of Delmar’s 10 miles, it’s seen most sharply near the Aldi, where two neighborhoods share a Zip code but have almost nothing else to do with one another.
The wealthier and majority white neighborhood that starts south of Delmar, known as the Central West End, publishes a community mapshowing 125 businesses, including a whiskey bar and an independent bookstore. St. Louis Blues hockey star T.J. Oshie lives in the area. So do university professors and vice chancellors. Residents have also noticed a black Lincoln Navigator, with a driver, that’s often parked on a gated, private street, ready to transport one wealthy homeowner at a moment’s notice.
The neighborhood, residents say, is relatively diverse. It’s home to some students, blacks, Asians, Hispanics. But there are also residents who say they’ve been made uncomfortable by police officers’ targeting of minorities.
When Chris Hand, a white law student from the West Coast was moving into this neighborhood a year ago, he saw two black men who were “dressed a little raggedy” walking down the street, Hand said. Then, a police officer stopped them, patted them down and told them to sit on the curb.
“He started interrogating them and said, ‘Are you to be panhandling?’ ” Hand recalled. “He booted them out of the neighborhood,” telling them to head north, toward Delmar Boulevard.
“It was just a little shocking,” Hand said.
Some in the Central West End say there is a reason to be vigilant in an area packed with commerce that is seeking new development. Residents of some sections of the neighborhood have elected to pay an extra tax, most of which is used to pay for more officers to patrol the neighborhood by bike. The police are off-duty from their regular jobs but come to the area to moonlight, said Jim Whyte, executive director of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative, a group formed in 2007 that works in cooperation with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
When a reporter walked through the neighborhood with a camera, one police officer on a bike came by to check on matters. Whyte soon followed, introducing himself and offering a tour of his office, where a tackboard displayed six photos of “Known Panhandlers” — all African Americans. The reporter told Whyte that he was about to head north of Delmar.
“Just be careful,” said Whyte, a retired St. Louis city police officer. “I’m serious.”
Urban planners worry that the racial divide is self-reinforcing, with home values linked to property taxes and quality of schools. Even if development pushes north of Delmar, lower-earners might be flushed out, chased away by home prices they can no longer afford.
That dynamic leaves St. Louis locked in what Jim Dwyer, a longtime Central West End resident, called a “two-world existence.” Some working-class residents from north of Delmar venture south for a meal or some shopping. But very few from the south go north.
The emotions over Ferguson events remain raw.
“I don’t think anybody expected this — even after the shooting,” Ruppel said, referring to the unrest.
Like Ruppel, Jill Boudreau, who was shopping in the Central West End on Wednesday, is willing to give the officer, Darren Wilson, the benefit of the doubt.
“That kid [Michael Brown], he probably did something” to merit a response from the officer, she said. “We don’t know all the facts.”
Just to the north of Delmar, in the almost entirely black area of Fountain Park, frustrations have long festered, but residents say their neighborhood is improving.
Homes were foreclosed en masse after the 2008 economic crisis, and that’s left a quieter, somewhat emptier area populated by aging homeowners. Many are working-class. There are barbecue picnics on weekends, and a sunflower and vegetable garden has sprouted in an area of razed lots. There are also bargains to be had: Turn-of-the-century mansions, with servants’ quarters, run for under $100,000 on the market.
Still, it has the markings of a tough neighborhood. Restaurant options run a limited gamut from fast-food burgers to takeout Chinese. Residents can tick off violent crimes that happened on this corner and that. Toughest of all, many north of Delmar say they’ve become inured to the divide — so accustomed to it that they sometimes have to remind themselves that it’s a problem.
“It’s life in St. Louis,” said Lawrence McKnight, a custodian at Centennial Christian Church in Fountain Park. “Some factions have it harder than others.”
“It’s always been the same,” said Jeanette Jones, a mail carrier who has worked both to the north and south.
“Once you cross Delmar — I don’t know, it’s a different world.”
The police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown and the riots that followed are likely a result of years of racial tensions simmering in and around St. Louis, Missouri.
Hundreds of people have protested in the streets of Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, and it appears racial tensions there have been boiling for years.
The Midwestern city is one of the most segregated in America.
This map shows the racial disparity in the city. The green color indicates a higher population of African-Americans (Ferguson is near Castle Point):
Throughout the past century, St. Louis has experienced “white flight” — white people progressively moving away from the city’s urban center and out into the suburbs.
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
As you can see in the maps above, as black residents move into certain neighborhoods, white residents tend to move farther out.
Part of the tension in Ferguson likely stems from the major racial disparity between the city’s police force and its citizens.
The Washington Post notes that while two-thirds of Ferguson’s residents are black, the city’s police department only has three black officers (out of 53), and most of the top city officials are white.
Protests erupted in Ferguson after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old, over last weekend.
There are conflicting accounts of what happened. Police say Brown lunged for an officer’s gun, but a friend of Brown who witnessed the incident said Brown had his hands up when he was shot.
He never stopped filming.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Ferguson on Sunday night. The situation quickly spiraled out-of-control when police fired tear gas into the crowd well before the midnight curfew. It’s unclear what prompted the police action.
Capturing the dramatic events for the world was Mustafa Hussein, a student who works at a local all-volunteer music station, Argus Radio. The station is using video equipment it purchased to live-stream concerts to broadcast the protests in Ferguson.
Tonight, as tens of thousands of people around the world watched, Hussein was threatened by an officer wielding a weapon. “Get the fuck out of here! You get that light off or you’re getting shot with this!,” the man shouts. That portion of the live-stream was uploaded to YouTube:
Undeterred, Hussein continued broadcasting. Subsequently, he can be heard reporting the incident to a different officer and other reporters. He then called his dad to tell him he loved him.
Source: Judd Legum for ThinkProgress
BREAKING: Per Congressman Lacy Clay (D), St. Louis County Police will no longer be involved in policing #Ferguson