Usually, when an officer is hurt while in pursuit of a suspect, he or she is seen in a heroic light and enjoys the support of the entire police department. But that was apparently not the case for a Black cop who ended up being shot by a white officer in St. Louis in 2017. The ordeal that left Milton Green disabled prompted him to file a civil rights lawsuit on Monday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Green, was working on a car in his driveway in June 2017 when he heard a car crash after being chased by police. He claimed one of the suspects ran into his yard and pointed a gun at him, which is when Green said he pulled out his department-issued gun and yelled “Police! Drop your gun!” The suspect took off and as Green attempted to run after him, he said he was stopped by another officer.
Green said he was ordered to drop his gun and get on the ground, which he did. But as he was trying to tell the officer that he too was a cop, he said he was told to “shut the hell up and stay on the ground.” Then a detective on the scene recognized Green and told him to grab his gun and come talk with him. When Green stood up, he was suddenly shot in the forearm by Christopher Tanner, a white cop. The shooting left Green injured and unable to return to work.
While he was at the hospital, Green said he told Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole the whole story. O’Toole, in turn, told the media that Green was the victim of “friendly fire.” But Green said he believes that if he was white he “wouldn’t have gotten shot.”
“How did he not see my badge in my hand?” Green told the St. Louis Dispatch. “My gun was pointed down, and the other officers were calm. The detective told them who I was and told them not to shoot.”
Following the shooting, Green claimed he was vilified by fellow officers on social media and was not offered any help. Even the St. Louis Police Officers Union, which has raised money for indicted white officers, has reportedly provided no assistance to Green, who was the primary breadwinner for his family. aid he had to beg for help from several service organizations. Green’s attorney, Javad Khazaeli, said he believed his client was “abandoned.” He also claimed that the city has yet to process Green’s pension because they are hiding a second police report about the incident.
“If I was white, I feel like I would have been taken care of,” Green said. “That’s how I feel.”
Green filed a civil rights lawsuit on Monday against the city, the St. Louis Police Department, and tanner alleging unreasonable seizure, excessive force, battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress and failure to train and supervise. His lawsuit was just the latest controversy surrounding the police force. Four officers have been indicted for beating up an undercover Black officer following protests over the 2017 acquittal of Jason Stockley, who was accused of killing 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. The department is also under investigation following the creation of a new database that has outed police officers around the country for sharing racist, violent and Islamophobic posts on Facebook.
With everything that has happened in the two years since being shot, Green expressed a feeling of disillusionment with the police department he once served.
“It’s kind of an eye-opener what you find out about the department,” Green said. “The people you think will come check on you who don’t. The department creates a separation. It makes me feel like less of an officer. I’m glad that God has spared my life. He could have kept shooting.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Green and his family with expenses.