St. Louis Pastors Call on Police to Rethink the Way They View Young Black Men After Another Teenager Is Shot Dead

Crowds confront police near the scene in south St. Louis after the 32-year-old officer killed the teen (AP)
Crowds confront police near the scene in south St. Louis after the 32-year-old officer killed the teen (AP)

The shooting by police of another black teenager only 10 miles from where Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, St Louis, has drawn calls from local pastors for police to rethink their approach to young black men.

Street protests followed the shooting, with confusion surrounding the last moments of Vonderrit Myers Jr.

The 18-year-old was killed after an off-duty policeman shot at him 17 times. According to the St Louis Post-Dispatch, the officer was legitimately working for a private security company when he saw three males in the street. He approached them in his car and gave chase when they ran away. St Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said that they officer chased them on foot and scuffled with Myers, who then reached for his gun, shooting three times at the officer, who then returned fire.

However, Myers’ family disputed claims that he was armed. His cousin Teyonna Myers said: “He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It’s like Michael Brown all over again.”

His uncle Jackie Williams said: “My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich. Security was supposedly searching for someone else. They Tased him.

“I don’t know how this happened, but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.”

St Louis police claim that they recovered a gun at the scene and said that the officer did not have a Taser.

Local clergy have been responding to the tragedy. Rev Tremaine Combs, pastor of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in St Charles, was involved in community ministry after the Michael Brown shooting. He told Christian Today: “It is possible that this will produce more protesting and civil unrest. It is my hope that the protesting does not turn violent or descend into chaotic expressions of sadness, frustration, or rage. It is my prayer that strong and credible leadership will emerge quickly and act efficiently and effectively.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Today
Mark Woods

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