Police Fatally Shoot Unarmed Black Teenager; Outraged Town Protests
A city in the St. Louis metropolitan area has become incredibly tense after local police reportedly shot and killed an unarmed teenager on Saturday afternoon.
18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson police officers during an encounter near the Canfield Green Apartments. According to KMOV, witnesses say Brown was unarmed and had his hands in the air when he was shot multiple times by an officer.
Almost instantly, the scene of Brown’s death became ground zero for local outrage. Residents posted stark images from the scene to social media, including the below photo with the teenager’s corpse laying facedown in the street:
— Governor Oopsies (@GovernorOopsies) August 10, 2014
Police have not yet revealed what prompted the incident, but have confirmed that it was their officer who fired at Brown. Hundreds of local residents reportedly swarmed the scene, some chanting obscenities at the police.
The commotion led to an increased police presence, reports KMOV:
[T]here are at least 100 police cars and numerous officers armed with M-16’s in the area. Stark also says hundreds of people have gathered at the intersection of West Florissant Avenue and Canfield Drive to protest the incident. A large police force from 15 different departments responded, including riot-control officers.
The crowd eventually dissipated around 5 p.m. local time, but the anger is still palpable on social media, as Raw Story documented. One Vine video shows protestors holding their hands in the air:
UPDATE — 11:24 p.m. ET: The St. Louis Post Dispatch has an eyewitness account:
Eyewitness, Piaget Crenshaw, 19, was waiting for a ride to work when she said she saw the police officer attempting to place Brown in the rear seat of a squad car.
She then observed the teen, hands in the air, attempt to flee. Several shots were fired at Brown as he ran, Crenshaw said, striking him in the head and chest.
Crenshaw said police asked and she complied with a request that she turn photos of the scene over to authorities.
UPDATE — Sunday, Aug. 10, 12:10 p.m. ET: CNN has more details, including eyewitness account from Brown’s friend:
Dorian Johnson said he was walking with Brown in the middle of the street when a police car pulled up. The officer told the teens to use the sidewalk, according to Johnson.
After an exchange of words, the officer shot Brown even after he raised his hands in the air, Johnson said.
The officer “shot again, and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air,” Johnson told KMOV. “He started to get down and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.”
The St. Louis County PD, however, disputes the story:
“The genesis of this was a physical confrontation,” Jon Belmar, chief of the St. Louis County Police Department, said at a Sunday news conference.
The officer tried to leave his vehicle just before the shooting on Saturday afternoon, but Brown pushed him back into the car, “where he physically assaulted the police officer” and struggled over the officer’s weapon, Belmar said.
A shot was fired inside the police car, and Brown was eventually shot about 35 feet away from the vehicle, Belmar said, adding few details because he didn’t want to “prejudice” the case.
UPDATE — Sunday, Aug. 10, 3:50 p.m. ET: Watch the police press conference below:
Watch the report below, via KMOV:
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