And Again

[Content Note: Police brutality; death; racism.]

Last night in St. Louis, an off-duty police officer who was "patrolling the Shaw neighborhood for a private security company" fatally shot 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr., following a foot chase and, the officer alleges, Myers shooting at him first. The unnamed officer fired at Myers, who is black, 17 times.

17 times.

This is the police account: The officer was in his car, and saw three young black men, one of whom started to run when they saw him, but then stopped. When the officer did a U-turn to do a "pedestrian check," which sounds like a neat euphemism for "stop-and-frisk," they all ran.
The officer said three men in the street ran away when they spotted him, [St. Louis Police Chief Col. Sam Dotson] told reporters at a news conference early Thursday. The way that one of the men ran — grabbing at his waistband, slightly lopsided — indicated that he was carrying a weapon, so the officer chased him, Dotson said.

The man approached the officer in an aggressive way, an altercation ensued and the man fired at the officer, the police chief said. The officer returned fire and killed him.

Ballistic evidence recovered from the scene indicates that the man fired three rounds at the officer before his weapon jammed, Dotson said, adding that the gun was also recovered.

The officer fired 17 shots, Dotson said. He said he didn't know how many of those shots hit the suspect or why the officer fired that many shots. The officer was not injured.

"An investigation will decide if the officer's behavior was appropriate," he said at police headquarters.
Witnesses and Myers' relatives say that he was not armed, but was carrying a sandwich. The police say they have "recovered a 9mm Ruger," and Dotson noted that Myers "was no stranger to law enforcement."

He also said that when running Myers' name in the police database, "something popped up very easily." Um, okay.

Because it's time to put another dead black young man on trial for his own murder.

So, here are a few questions: What exactly is a "pedestrian check"? Missouri has an open carry law, as well as a concealed carry with a permit law, so how is the suspicion that someone is carrying a weapon a justification for pursuit? Why was an off-duty police officer working for a private security company wearing his uniform and driving his cruiser? What is even going on? How is any of this okay?

At least that last question is easy to answer: It isn't.

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