St. Louis police chief defends fatal shooting of black man
The police chief of St. Louis in the US state of Missouri has defended white officers who fatally shot African American Mansur Ball-Bey on Wednesday.
Eighteen-year-old Ball-Bey was killed by two officers who were conducting a search warrant at a home where they believed there were several suspects.
Upon police arrival, Ball-Bey and another African-American man ran out the back door of the targeted home, with officers ordering them to stop. Police say that Ball-Bey pointed a gun at the officers, who then fired four times, killing him.
The killing sparked angry protests over racial tensions fueled by the killing of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson a year ago.
On Thursday, Police Chief Sam Dotson said techniques used to control crowds were justifiable, saying “I’d certainly much rather our officers focused in the neighborhoods, interceding violence before it happens.”
“It’s kind of ironic that we’re in that neighborhood where police services are most needed, and people are telling us not to do our jobs.”
Following the Wednesday’s shooting, people converged on the scene, protesting the brutal tactics and use of deadly force by police.
Activists say that they will continue protests over police brutality in the US.
“We have a right to live in freedom and specifically free from fear,” said Montague Simmons, executive director of the Organization for Black Struggle. “This can’t go unchecked. We’re going to stay in the street. No matter what (police) put forward, we are not going to stop.”
The recent shooting came 10 days after the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson was flooded with protesters marking the first anniversary of the August 9 fatal shooting of 18-year-old Brown by a white police officer.
Brown’s death provoked months of violent protests across the United States and spurred a nationwide movement to confront police violence against minorities.