United States: No charges against cop who shot St Louis teen

Protests in St Louis following murder of VonDerrit Myers. St Louis, October 2014.

The white US police officer who shot dead Black teenager VonDerrit Myers while off-duty will not be prosecuted, officials said on May 18. The 18-year-old teen was shot 17 times in St Louis in October, six minutes after buying a sandwich at convenience store.

His death exacerbated protests in Missouri state against the killing of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown in the nearby town of Ferguson in August, also by a white officer. Like the fatal shooting of Brown, the details of Myers’ death contained startling inconsistencies.

City of St Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said that an official investigation confirmed the sequence of events proffered by police officer Jason Flanery — that Myers fired on the officer first before Flanery returned fire in self-defence. But video evidence emerged soon after the killing, throwing the official version into question.

The CCTV footage shows the teenager, seven minutes before the incident, buying a sandwich in a convenience store. He is ostensibly unarmed and not wearing a hoodie — which according to the report allegedly came off in the struggle between the officer and young man.

The manager of the store told Los Angeles Times: “Like six minutes after I sold him a sandwich, he got shot … He wasn’t armed when he was here. He didn’t have a hoodie.”

Amid further inconsistencies, Myers’ family do not accept the St Louis prosecutors’ decision. Their attorney has told local media that they intend to file a wrongful death suit over the case.

“I don't believe for a minute that VonDerrit had a weapon,” Jerryl Christmas told St Louis Post-Dispatch. “Flanery threw that gun down on him just like they threw that stun gun down on Walter Scott in South Carolina.”

Earlier on May 18, a Texas grand jury failed to indict the Grapevine police officer who fatally shot Ruben Garcia Villalpando, an unarmed Mexican immigrant, during a traffic stop captured on patrol car video.

The shooting triggered a series of rallies in February calling for officer Robert Clark to face prosecution for a shooting that protesters believe was racially motivated.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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