A St. Louis Police Officer, who has not yet been named, was working a second job as a security officer protecting the neighborhood of Shaw. He noticed three suspicious black males around 7:30pm on Wednesday. The officer was still in his vehicle when one of the males began to run. The officer pursued the male, 18-year old Vonderrit Myers Jr., in his vehicle and then on foot. The pursuit was based on probable cause since Myers began to run upon noticing the vehicle.
Myers turned and approached the officer in “an aggressive manner”, police said. The officer ordered Myers to surrender. As Myers was on probation with a felony gun charge, he refused to surrender, and instead attacked the officer. The two struggled during which Myers sweatshirt came off.
Apparently feeling that he was “losing” the fight, Myers turned and ran uphill but then turned around toward the officer again. This time he pointed a 9 mm Smith & Wesson at the officer and shot off at least three rounds, all of which missed the officer. Thankfully, Myers gun jammed. The officer returned fire, but as a trained marine and six-year veteran of the police department, unlike Myers’, he did not miss.
The officer fired approximately thirteen rounds toward Myers and Myers was hit six to seven times per the medical examiner. The killing shot went through Myers right cheek and was found in his body. He died at the scene.
Forensic expert’s recovered evidence from the scene that proves Myers fired at the 32-year old police officer even though relatives and many other at the scene denied that Myers even had a weapon. The three bullets fired at the officer were found; one of them was found in the officer’s vehicle. Trajectories prove that the bullets were all fired downhill from where Myers was. Myers’ gun was also determined to be a gun reported stolen on September 26.
Protesters gathered quickly in the area claiming the incident to be equivalent to the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson. Some were heard chanting “black lives matter.” Not only does forensic evidence suggest that Myers’ was killed due to an officer defending himself from an aggressive teenager shooting a stolen gun, but Myers’ record indicates that he was a threat to the officer, as well.
Myers had been previously arrested for unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest on June 27. His trial was scheduled for November, and he was out of jail on a $10,000 bond. Myers was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet that was part of his bail agreement. Even though all of these facts suggest that the officer was the victim here, the community quickly believed that the officer used excessive force to kill an innocent black man.
An unjustified protest ensued that caused monetary damages to numerous police vehicles. Police were forced to respond with a tactical team. During the incident, a convicted felon carrying a gun was arrested. While many supportive claims for Myers were suggested from neighbors and family, one being that Myers did not have a gun and was only carrying a sandwich, were quickly refuted based on forensic evidence. Another family member claimed that Myers was Tased but the officer did not even have a Taser issued to him.
Is there racial profiling and excessive force used by some police officers? Probably. There are always a minority that tend to make the majority look bad. However, the community needs to be careful that they do not turn the tables and begin to racially profile officers in general. Violent protests based on assumptions are not acceptable; especially if you want to prove that you are being treated unfairly and are just a peaceful community.