Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, December 2014
St. Louis Police Officer Kills African American Youngman, Triggering New Protests
December 24, 2014
Protests break out in Berkely, St. Luis, after a police officer killed another African youngman, Dec 24, 2014
Police shoot & kill armed black teen in St. Louis area
Russia TV, December 24, 2014, 14:48
An 18-year-old armed teenager identified as Antonio Martin has been shot by officers in the St. Louis area, police confirmed. The incident was followed by protesters clashing with police at the scene, accompanied by the sound of loud bangs.
A police officer was conducting a routine check at the Mobil gas station in the suburb of Berkeley, St. Louis at about 11:15 pm local time, St. Louis County Police said. The officer saw two male suspects and approached them. One man pulled a handgun and pointed it at the police officer.
The officer then fired several shots and wounded one of the suspects fatally. The second man managed to escape the scene.
Police added they can’t yet confirm the identity of the victim. However, the mother of the deceased said it was her son - Antonio Martin, 18.
Soon after the incident protesters clashed with law enforcers at the scene. Loud bangs and smoke have also been reported.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, at least three people have been arrested in the clashes.
Hundreds of protesters are in the area. YouTube videos show several people letting off fireworks at the gas station, while others are smashing the windows of a shop there.
Social media users posted photos and videos of the victim’s emotional mother bursting into tears the moment she learns her son is dead.
“They started shooting,” Toni Martin, the teen’s mother told reporters.
She added that her son was with his girlfriend at the time of the incident. The girlfriend remains at the scene, but won’t speak to reporters.
"That’s my baby,” Toni Martin was crying over and over again.
Photos reportedly showing Antonio’s girlfriend with him at the time of the shooting were released by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Martin attended Jennings Senior High School in St. Louis, Missouri, according to Twitter users.
Antonio’s mother later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that her son was expelled from school, but was trying to gain employment via Jobs Corps, a US program offering free-of-charge education and vocational training to young people.
Dozens of Twitter users claim Martin was unarmed when he was shot. People gathered at the scene, demanding police explain what happened.
They are shouting “Innocent people!” and “What is that?”
“You drop four bodies, I'm giving you four seasons of protest," a woman was heard shouting at a police officer.
Some angry witnesses have managed to break through police tape and are now at the scene.
Twitter users report the body of Antonio has been blocked from view. According to bystanders, the teen was alive for about 30 minutes after being shot.
The incident occurred as US police are being widely criticized for their brutal tactics against suspects, especially African Americans. Over the past weeks tens of thousands of Americans across the country have taken part in massive marches protesting the slaying of unarmed black men by police.
The protesters spoke out against grand jury decisions not to indict the white officers responsible for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. They staged rallies and ‘die-ins’ under the banners ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Justice for All.’
On Saturday, two NYPD officers were shot dead at point blank range by a black suspect who ambushed their patrol car ‘execution style’ in Brooklyn. The perpetrator, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, fled the scene and committed suicide, authorities confirmed.
St. Louis police release footage of fatal Berkeley shooting
Russia TV, December 24, 2014, 14:33
Police say an 18-year-old teenager who was shot dead by officers in the St. Louis area was armed and had a violent criminal past.
The suspect, identified as 18-year-old Antonio Martin, was shot once after an officer discharged his weapon three times during the course of the altercation at a Mobile Gas station, according to Saint Louis county police. Martin, who was reportedly armed at the time of the shooting, is not believed to have fired his weapon.
During a press conference on Wednesday morning, police said Martin had a violent criminal past, including three assaults and armed robbery.
“He was known to law enforcement,” the St. Louis Police said.
Law enforcers said they did not know if the dash cam in the officer's car was turned on at the time of the altercation. The 34-year-old officer had also been assigned a body cam, though he was not wearing it at the time. Surveillance footage from the scene of the shooting, however, has been released by police.
According to police, the officer arrived at the scene after responding to a larceny call, after which Martin approached the police car. While the officer was standing by the front right tire of his vehicle, Martin, who was standing near the vehicle's hood, allegedly pointed a 9 mm handgun at the officer. Police say the officer fired three rounds at Martin. One shot reportedly hit Martin, one shot hit the police cruiser, and one has yet to be located.
“The suspect had a pistol in his hand. We did what we had to do,” said St. Louis County Police.
It remains unknown if Martin was shot following the alleged robbery or if he had discharged his gun during the confrontation. Police said a muzzle flash was not visible in the footage from either his gun or that of the officer's.
The officer involved in the shooting, a 6-year-veteran of the force, has been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues.
Soon after the shooting, which transpired at 11:15 pm local time, protesters clashed with law enforcers at the scene. Loud bangs and smoke have also been reported. Police, however, saying that had learned lessons from previous recent events in Ferguson, allowed protesters "to vent."
Around 50 officers were sent to maintain order along with a tactical squad which police say was never deployed. Police said no chemical munitions were used to disperse the protesters, and two officers were injured while trying to maintain the peace.
Police said it "would be fair" to say that the protesters, some of whom allegedly brought bags of rocks, interfered with the investigation. The also said that social media accounts which claimed Martin had been shot in cold blood would be disproved by the surveillance footage.
Police are expected to release more details later on Wednesday.
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