More racial unrest in St Louis after police kill black suspect
by Daily Sabah with Reuters
ISTANBULAug 21, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with Reuters
Aug 21, 2015 12:00 am
St. Louis police fatally shot a black teenager on Wednesday who they say pointed a gun at them, and later faced angry crowds, reigniting racial tensions first sparked by the killing of an unarmed black teen in another Missouri town a year ago.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the shooting took place when young black men ran out the back door of a house where officers were carrying out a search warrant. Officers ordered the pair to stop in an alley behind the house. One suspect pointed a gun at officers who then fired four times, killing him, Dotson said. "Detectives were looking for guns, looking for violent felons, looking for people that have been committing crimes in the neighborhood," he said. Police identified the slain suspect as Mansur Ball-Bey, 18. The second youth fled.
Crowds gathered at a nearby intersection shortly after the shooting and then again in the evening. Dotson said at a late Wednesday press conference some protesters threw bricks and glass bottles at officers, who used shields to protect themselves and then tear gas to disperse the crowd. A car was set on fire and some local businesses had reported robbery attempts, he said
Nine people were arrested on charges of impeding traffic and resisting arrest, police said. St. Louis Alderman Antonio French posted on Twitter that a vacant house was burning. Dotson told reporters Ball-Bey's gun was one of three stolen firearms recovered from the scene and said officers recovered crack cocaine. St. Louis police said the officers involved in the shooting were white, aged 33 and 29, each with about seven years on the force. They are on administrative leave.
A 93-year-old member of the Tuskegee Airmen, a black aviation unit from World War II, was robbed and carjacked in the neighborhood on Sunday. A woman was also killed in the area this week. Wednesday's shooting came as activists were in the area to mark the anniversary of the police shooting of another black man in St. Louis, Kajieme Powell. Police say officers shot Powell when he approached them with a knife.
The shooting also came 10 days after St. Louis was flooded with protesters marking the anniversary of the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer on Aug. 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, not far from St. Louis. Brown's death led to weeks of sometimes violent unrest in Ferguson last year and sparked nationwide protests. Last week, a state of emergency was declared in Ferguson after the peaceful protests devolved into violence. Brown's death prompted greater scrutiny of racial bias within the U.S. criminal justice system, giving rise to the "Black Lives Matter" movement that gained momentum from similar incidents in cities such as New York, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and, most recently, Arlington, Texas.
Regarding racial discrimination in American society, the mistreatment and killing of black citizens by white police officers has a long history in the U.S. Americans have long witnessed the killing of black people and the injustice that comes with it. The U.S., a large multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country, has suffered from racial discrimination toward black Americans, as the recent cases of police shootings has demonstrated. U.S. President Barack Obama said racial bias against black Americans "is deeply rooted in American society and history," explaining that race relations in the U.S. has improved over the last 50 years but is still in need of improvement.
In 2014, the U.S. was shaken by the violent police killings of young black Americans Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, and the police's subsequent brutal intervention on protesters, which reveals the disparity between "respect for equal rights and law enforcement's treatment of racial minorities," as international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW), reported in January. Despite all American citizens being protected from racial discrimination under the U.S. Constitution and federal law, discrimination and inequality based on race has remained, HRW said.