Jason H. Flanery, the St. Louis, Mo. police officer accused in fatal shooting of Vonderrit Myers Jr. (Instagram/Jason H. Flanery)
A lawyer for the family of Vonderrit Myers Jr. has released the name of the White off-duty St. Louis, Mo., police officer named in the teen’s fatal shooting, saying that his social media comments reveal political and racial biases that weigh on the shooting, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The officer’s name, Jason H. Flanery, is listed on an evidence envelope that was inadvertently included with Myers’ body when it was delivered to the funeral home, said Jermaine Wooten, one of the family’s lawyers, the newspaper writes.
The St. Louis Police Department declined to confirm the name of the officer that previously went undisclosed because of a “threat assessment.”
Brian Millikan, the lawyer representing the officer would not confirm or deny the name released by, but the Post-Dispatch verified the name independently, the report says.
As NewsOne has previously reported, police say Myers, 18, fired first at an off-duty police officer after a physical altercation this fall. However, there are conflicting reports about how many times the officer shot at Myers, with some indicating the teen was shot 16 times.
The shooting came after Darren Wilson, a White Ferguson, Mo., police officer, shot and killed unarmed Black teen Michael Brown during a confrontation this summer. Now a nation sits on edge as it awaits announcements about whether Wilson will be indicted.
Wooten noted online posts attributed to Flanery that call President Barack Obama “Nobama” and say that in a speech by Michelle Obama, “She looks drunk, high, and dumb as hell.” The lawyer said repeated disparaging remarks about blacks in Flanery’s postings reflected a “strong negatively biased view of African-Americans.”
He also cited Flanery’s online criticism of liberals and homosexuality. The lawyer complained that “right-wing conservatives” have not traditionally been “the friendliest” to people such as Myers.
Wooten said that photos on an Instagram site, showing Flanery’s Marine, police and SWAT training, belie the claim that Myers pulled a gun and fired three shots before the officer could respond.
Wooten says Flanery’s social media posts provide great insight into the officer’s mindset.
He said online pictures showed “a guy who is actually in love with weaponry.” More problematic, Wooten said, are comments on YouTube videos. In those, Flanery criticizes liberals and posts comments such as, “Conservatives are better. At everything.”
Flanery’s Instagram account showed pictures of him in the Marines and a video of him in civilian clothes, firing a fully automatic rifle. He praises family and farm life and posted comments such as “runyourgunnotyourmouth.” He also wrote, “I’ve been blessed with the ability to be exactly who I wanted to be when I grew up,” followed by the hashtags “lawman” and “Marines.”
Flanery, 32, on the force for six years, also posted comments on videos of police actions, including a shooting in New York. One comment: “And the moral of the story is … if you shoot at men with guns they are going to shoot you back. And probably a lot.”
The shootings in Ferguson and St. Louis touched off protests across the country over police violence against Blacks, especially unarmed men. In an effort to thwart violent protests in the community after news about Wilson’s fate, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has called a state of emergency and the St. Louis mayor has called in the National Guard.