A prosecutor said Tuesday that no charges would be filed against an off-duty White St. Louis police officer who shot and killed VonDerrit Myers, 18, during an alleged firefight in October, Reuters reports.
Jennifer Joyce, the City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney, declined to bring criminal charges against the unnamed officer, saying her office’s independent investigation corroborated the police account that Myers was armed and fired on the officer before he returned fire in self-defense, Reuters writes.
The shooting, which occurred in a St. Louis neighborhood, reinvigorated protests over the death of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot last August by White former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
While Joyce did not name the officer because he had not been charged with a crime, Reuters notes that St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson identified him as Jason Flanery in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
A private autopsy ordered by Myers’ family found that he was shot six times in the back of the legs–four of which were consistent with him running up a hill–and once in the side of the head, the report says.
Jerryl Christmas, an attorney for the Myers family, told the Post-Dispatch that he intended to file a wrongful death suit over the case.
“I don’t believe for a minute that VonDerrit had a weapon,” Christmas told the newspaper. “Flanery threw that gun down on him just like they threw that stun gun down on Walter Scott in South Carolina.”
Police use of force, particularly against black people and other minority groups, has been under increased scrutiny across the country following the police killings of unarmed black men in cities like Ferguson, New York City, North Charleston, South Carolina and elsewhere over the past year.
Check back for updates to this developing story…
SOURCE: Reuters | VIDEO CREDIT: NDN