Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, October 2014
High Unemployment Among African-Americans Behind St. Louis Protests
October 15, 2014
MOSCOW, October 15, 2014 (RIA Novosti) –
A lack of jobs is one of the reasons behind massive protests organized by African-Americans in St. Louis following the shooting of two teenagers by local police officers, The Guardian reported Wednesday.
"There are no jobs," Denzil Dean, a 57-year-old landscaper and small business owner, told The Guardian when asked why she had joined protests in Ferguson, a suburban town in the St. Louis area in the US state of Missouri.
According to The Guardian, in 2012, the St. Louis County unemployment rate was three times higher for African-Americans than it was for white people.
"You see a lot of frustration," Dean said, adding that young African-Americans faced with unemployment are trying to build up a sense of unity.
"[African-American] youth are trying to develop some kind of community pride and they just can't do that with the police force harassing them," Dean explained.
Over the weekend, thousands of protesters gathered in Ferguson and St. Louis to rally against what they view as a series of racially motivated shootings of African-Americans by white police officers in the region. The protests continued on Monday.
The demonstrations followed the shooting of 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers in the Shaw neighborhood in St. Louis. Myers, an African-American, was shot at several times by an off-duty white police officer.
The incident took place just two months after Michael Brown, another African-American teenager of the same age, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson.
On Tuesday, state authorities in Missouri released the crime laboratory results of Myers revealing that gunpowder residue tested positive on his hands and clothing. The results prove that Myers may have been armed, despite his family members' claim that he was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
Teenager shot by St Louis police officer 'had gun residue on hands'
The Guardian, Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Family dispute police claim that Vonderrit Myers was armed, Police say 9mm handgun was recovered from scene.
An 18-year-old who was shot dead last week after he allegedly opened fire on a police officer in St Louis, Missouri, had gunshot residue on his hands and waistband when he died, the police said on Tuesday.
Results from crime laboratory tests on the body of Vonderrit Myers appeared to give further support to police claims that Myers shot at the officer following a confrontation in the Shaw neighbourhood. Relatives denied that Myers was carrying a gun and said he was holding only a sandwich.
The St Louis force had already said that it recovered a 9mm handgun from Myers at the scene and that three of its rounds had been discovered fired towards the officer, who was in uniform but working a shift in his second job as a private neighbourhood security guard. The officer’s name has not been released.
Results from the Missouri state highway patrol lab, which police released on Tuesday afternoon, said that gunshot residue was discovered on Myers’s hands, on his T-shirt and in the waistband and pockets of his jeans.
Residue on his hands “could mean the individual discharged a firearm, was near a firearm when it was discharged, or touched an object with gunshot residue on it,” the police statement said.
The police noted that people shot at close range could also have residue deposited on their hands. However, Myers is said to have been standing some distance away from the officer when the shots were fired.
The residue discovered on Myers’s clothes, meanwhile, “could be from being in the environment of a discharged weapon or coming in contact with an object with gunshot residue on it”, according to the police statement. It noted that the clothing residue could have been older than that found on Myers’s hands.
Photographs purporting to be of Myers holding two handguns circulated on social media in recent days. Brian Millikan, an attorney for the officer involved, told the St Louis Post Dispatch that his client recognised both Myers and the two-tone firearm shown in the pictures. Police said that the handgun recovered from the scene had been reported stolen on 26 September.
Myers was charged with possession of an unlawful weapon and resisting arrest in a separate incident in June, and was placed under house arrest.
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