Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Brief Stop in St. Louis

"Prosecutors said they will conduct a simultaneous inquiry as police investigate the death of a suspect killed by a St. Louis officer. Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce announced the simultaneous investigation after autopsy results showed Mansur Ball-Bey, 18, was shot in the back Wednesday."

That never looks good.

"St. Louis police shoot fleeing suspect" Associated Press  August 20, 2015

ST. LOUIS — An armed man fleeing from officers serving a search warrant at a home in a crime-troubled section of St. Louis was shot and killed Wednesday by police after he pointed a gun at them, the city’s police chief said.

Standard lead paragraph. So what was the color composition regarding this thing?

The shooting that left a black suspect dead drew protests, with many of the roughly 150 people who gathered at the scene hurling obscene gestures and expletives at investigators and questioning the police use of deadly force. Some chanted ‘‘Black Lives Matter,’’ a mantra used in the past year since the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson. 

Here we go again, and ALL LIVES MATTER (including the one whitey dusted by law enforcement every day). I'm already smelling staged provocation if not scripted fiction.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said two suspects fled from the home about noon Wednesday on the city’s north side before one of the men turned and pointed a handgun at the officers, who shot the man. That suspect, described by Dotson as being in his early 20s, died at the scene. Authorities are searching for the second suspect.

Both officers, who are white, were unharmed, according to a police report.

Dotson said four guns, including the handgun wielded by the dead suspect, and crack cocaine were recovered at or near the home, which last year yielded illegal guns during a police search.

Another man and a woman who were inside the home were arrested, Dotson said. 

I guess they all deserved it. Besides, Cops Lives Matter More.

Many of those who gathered near Wednesday’s shooting voiced anger at police. As police removed their yellow tape that cordoned off the scene, dozens of people converged on the home’s front yard, many chanting insults and gesturing obscenely at officers. Several onlookers surrounded individual officers, yelling at them.

Don't do that. Don't threaten the police!

A neighborhood resident, Fred Price, said he was skeptical about Dotson’s account that the suspect pointed a gun at officers before being mortally wounded. 

I don't blame him.

‘‘They provoked the situation,’’ Price, 33, said. ‘‘Situations like this make us want to keep the police out of the neighborhood. They’re shooting first, then asking questions.’’


"St. Louis police chief defends fatal shooting; Man killed in raid had gun, officers said" by Jim Suhr and Jim Salter Associated Press  August 21, 2015

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis police chief on Thursday unapologetically defended the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old who was killed by two white officers in a confrontation that drew protesters and unrest back to the streets.

Protesters pledged to stand firm. Said the director of a group called the Organization for Black Struggle: ‘‘We will not go away.’’

Mansur Ball-Bey, who police said had a handgun, was shot as officers raided a home in a violence-plagued part of north St. Louis. Within an hour of Wednesday’s shooting, more than 100 people converged on the scene, taunting officers and decrying deadly force.

A vacant building and at least one car were torched, police said. Officers responded with tear gas.

The scene unfolded less than two weeks after violence marred the anniversary of the day Michael Brown was fatally wounded by a white officer in nearby Ferguson. His death launched the national Black Lives Matter movement.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the crowd-control tactics were justified because officers were being hit with bottles and bricks and protesters refused to clear the roadway.

‘‘I’d certainly much rather our officers focused in the neighborhoods interceding violence before it happens,’’ Dotson said Thursday, noting some in the neighborhood implored police to leave them alone.

‘‘It’s kind of ironic that we’re in that neighborhood where police services are most needed, and people are telling us not to do our jobs.’’

Activists vowed to continue their efforts.

‘‘We have a right to live in freedom and specifically free from fear,’’ said Montague Simmons, executive director of the Organization for Black Struggle. ‘‘This can’t go unchecked. We’re going to stay in the street. No matter what [police] put forward, we are not going to stop.’’

The latest shooting happened while officers were serving a search warrant. They encountered Ball-Bey and another suspect running from the home, police said.

Ball-Bey turned and pointed a handgun at the officers, who shot him, authorities said. He died at the scene.

Where was he shot again?

The handgun found in the dead man’s possession had one round in the chamber and 13 more in the magazine, Dotson said.

Could have been planted.

Some protesters questioned the police claim that the suspect was armed. Distrust of police accounts has been common since Brown’s death.

As would anyone these days.

“I understand people’s skepticism,” Dotson said Thursday. “But don’t let social media and innuendo drive what you believe to be true. You have to let the facts speak.” 

Problem is that is where you need to go to find facts.

Mayor Francis Slay pledged “an independent and transparent” investigation but stood behind police.

Looks like a pre-determined result then.


"Suspect killed by St. Louis police was shot in back" by Jim Suhr Associated Press  August 22, 2015

They left that out of the last article.

ST. LOUIS — An autopsy showed that an 18-year-old who was shot and killed by an officer helping to serve a search warrant in a violence-plagued neighborhood died from a single wound in the back, police said Friday.

Running away, and do you know how hard it is to turn and fire a gun when running away?

Police Chief Sam Dotson cautioned that the location of Mansur Ball-Bey’s wound neither confirms nor disproves two St. Louis officers’ accounts that Ball-Bey pointed a loaded gun at them before they shot at him Wednesday.

The shooting had set off an evening of violent protests, with authorities saying at least nine people were arrested and property was damaged.

It also came on the heels of violence that marred the anniversary of the day Michael Brown was killed by a white officer in nearby Ferguson — a killing that sparked protests, the ‘‘Black Lives Matter’’ movement, and a national debate over police treatment of minorities.

Even the timing is suspicious.

Dotson said Thursday that a stolen handgun linked to Ball-Bey — with one round in the chamber and 13 more in the magazine — was found at the scene.

‘‘Just because he was shot in the back doesn’t mean he was running away,’’ Dotson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. ‘‘What I do know is that two officers were involved and fired shots, but I don’t know exactly where they were standing yet and I won’t know until I get their statements.’’

Well, it means he wasn't facing them when shot.

Authorities haven’t said exactly where in the back Ball-Bey was shot.

Police haven’t released the full autopsy or toxicology tests yet, and they have not explained why they don’t yet have statements from the officers. Messages left Friday with St. Louis’s chief medical examiner and that office’s investigator weren’t returned. 

I think we know why.

Dotson has pledged a thorough internal investigation by the police’s year-old Force Investigation Unit. Without specifying how long that ‘‘transparent’’ inquiry may take, police said its findings will be forwarded to St. Louis city and federal prosecutors for review.

‘‘We have a policy that’s strong, a process that’s strong,’’ Dotson said. ‘‘There’s strong third-party review, and we want to make everything above reproach.’’

Messages left with the Ball-Bey family’s attorney, Jermaine Wooten, were not returned. Wooten has maintained to media outlets that Ball-Bey was not armed when killed.

The law gives police officers latitude to use deadly force when they feel physically endangered. The Supreme Court held in a 1989 case that the appropriateness of use of force by officers ‘‘must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene,’’ rather than evaluated through 20/20 hindsight.

That standard is designed to take into account that police officers frequently must make split-second decisions during fast-evolving confrontations and should not be subject to overly harsh second-guessing.

What happened to the days of just shooting you in the leg?

The Justice Department cited that legal threshold earlier this year when it cleared Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Brown, 18.

When it comes to suspects shot from behind, a police practices specialist counseled against quick conclusions. 

Yeah, don't rush to judgement in this case!

‘‘Any time a suspect is shot in the back, it causes people to think something was done improperly or unfairly,’’ said Chuck Drago, a former police chief in Oviedo, Fla. ‘‘There are a lot of different ways a person could get shot in the back running away, and that in and of itself doesn’t mean a bad shooting.’’ 

Also many strange ways people commit suicide.

Drago said if an officer deems that a suspect running with a gun in hand poses a danger to police or bystanders, shooting him in the back may be the only lawful way to stop him. And often when an officer confronts an armed suspect, ‘‘by the time that officer recognizes the threat, gets a signal sent to their brain, pulls their gun and fires, the suspect may already have turned,’’ Drago said.

And there is always the philosophy that if AmeriKa's security forces killed you, you deserved it. Makes things a lot easier to accept.

The fact that Ball-Bey was shot from behind means nothing without context, added David Klinger, a University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist. ‘‘We just don’t know. You shouldn’t look at one thing and say this is dispositive, and it drives me nuts that people want to rush to judgment’’ against the police.

Within half-an-hour bin Laden was being fingered for 9/11.

Officers have been cleared in cases in which suspects were shot in the back, including the St. Louis killing nearly a year ago of black VonDerrit Myers Jr., 18, by Jason Flanery, a white off-duty officer.

Authorities have said Flanery was patrolling a neighborhood as a security officer in a marked private security car when he confronted Myers, who began shooting down a hill at Flanery. Flanery returned fire as Myers fled.

Dotson’s department investigated the matter and turned it over to St. Louis’s prosecutor, Jennifer Joyce, who in May announced that her office’s ‘‘independent and exhaustive investigation’’ concluded Flanery acted in self-defense.


"No arrests days after fatal shooting of girl in Ferguson" Associated Press  August 22, 2015

FERGUSON, Mo. — Ferguson police are searching for clues about the killing of a 9-year-old girl who was shot when someone fired into a home where she was doing homework on her mother’s bed.

No arrests have been made in Tuesday night’s fatal shooting of Jamyla Bolden and police don’t yet know if the home was targeted or the shots were random, Police Sergeant Dominica Fuller said Thursday. Jamyla’s 34-year-old mother was struck in the leg and treated at a hospital.

‘‘You have a 9-year-old child on her mother’s bed doing homework and a bullet strikes her,’’ Fuller said. ‘‘Our concern is to get this person off the street.’’

The shooting happened a couple of blocks from the site where 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer during a confrontation on Aug. 9, 2014, sparking sometimes violent protests.

‘‘The simple fact is our kids are dying at a young age at a fast pace and we as a community must come together,’’ Fuller said.


Related: North Carolina Cop Goes on Trial

"Mistrial declared in police officer’s manslaughter trial" Associated Press  August 22, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A state judge declared a mistrial Friday after a jury deadlocked in the case of a white police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in the death of an unarmed black man.

Judge Robert C. Ervin declared a mistrial after four days of deliberations by a racially diverse jury of eight women and four men at the Mecklenburg County courthouse.

Outside the courthouse, a handful of protesters lay down in the middle of the street to protest the decision. Several shouted ‘‘No justice, no peace’’ at members of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer Randall Kerrick’s family as they left the courthouse.

Prosecutors said nonlethal force should have been used to subdue Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player, in September 2013. They have not decided whether to seek a retrial.

Kerrick’s attorneys said he opened fire because he feared that Ferrell was going to attack him and take his gun.


Also see:

"A man who gunned down a security guard at a federal building in Manhattan before killing himself Friday was a whistleblower who had been fired by a US agency, Representative Bill Pascrell of New Jersey said Saturday. Pascrell said Kevin Downing, once an employee of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, had a string of misfortunes as his live-in fiancee died of cancer, his house was in foreclosure, and he suffered health problems after a car accident." 

Stayed a lot longer than I thought I would, and there has to be more to the story than that!

UPDATE: Black Lies Matter 

All lies matter.

Also see: Ferguson announces an amnesty on warrants


"A suburban St. Louis man was charged Thursday with killing a 9-year-old girl who was sitting on her mother’s bed doing her homework when shots were fired into her Ferguson, Mo. home."