Unarmed Black Teen Killed By Police, Sparks “Riot Conditions” in Missouri Town
An unarmed teen was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri on Saturday, sending the town into chaos as hundreds of people showed up to protest the use of fatal force.
18-year-old Mike Brown was reportedly being apprehended by police when he attempted to flee.
As he ran with his arms raised in the air, a Ferguson police officer shot Brown multiple times, killing him, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Police officials have not yet said why Brown was being corralled by the officer, though some reports have claimed there was a dispute over walking in the neighborhood.
Outraged witnesses and community members in the area, which is about 20 miles outside of St. Louis, swarmed the area to protest what they believed to be an unnecessary killing of a young black man.
“We had what probably bordered on riot conditions,” said Police Chief Thomas Jackson noting that there were up to 1,000 people gathered at one point, many of whom had been informed via social media.
Approximately 60 officers came on the scene with assault rifles and police dogs as people chanted “We are Michael Brown” and “Don’t shoot me!”
Others yelled “Kill the police!” and Brown’s stepfather held a sign reading, “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!”
There was also a prayer circle and candlelight vigil as night fell.
A second protest took place outside of the police headquarters.
The St. Louis Police Department will be conducting its own independent investigation into the incident, and State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said the U.S. Justice Department should as well.
The St. Louis County NAACP has also vowed to investigate, but is encouraging “residents to stay away from the crime scene so that no additional citizens are injured.”
Brown was reportedly scheduled to begin classes at Vatterott College in the coming days.
The officer who fatally shot him has been placed on paid administrative leave.
More information is expected to be released by police later on Sunday.
UPDATE: At a press conference on Sunday, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said Brown was killed after first allegedly trying to get the cop’s gun.
Brown allegedly “pushed a police officer back into the car, where he physically assaulted the police officer” and reached for the weapon, claimed Belmar, who said one shot was fired inside the vehicle.
This account differs significantly from eyewitness reports, which said Brown was shot with his arms raised outside the car.
Belmar, however, did confirm Brown was unarmed, and said he was found fatally wounded about 35 feet from the vehicle.
He also said that multiple shell casings were discovered on the ground, all from the officer’s gun, though the exact number of shots fired has not yet been determined.
The police chief, who did not discuss whether or not the shooting was justified, said that a full investigation is underway.
The findings will eventually be turned over to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to determine if charges should be filed.