Lawyers say police account of shooting Missouri teen untrue, lawsuit coming

Reuters News
|
Posted: Aug 24, 2015 5:07 PM

By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) - Lawyers representing the family of a black teenager fatally shot in the back last week by police in St. Louis, Missouri, said Monday that interviews with several witnesses who were at the scene contradict the police account of the incident.

At least six different witnesses have provided information about the Aug. 19 shooting of Mansur Ball-Bey to two lawyers representing the 18-year-old's family, and none say the teen was in the house that officers said he ran out of just before they shot him, according to attorney Jerry Christmas.

Christmas said he and co-counsel Jermaine Wooten have also interviewed the teenager who was with Ball-Bey just before he was shot, and the boy disputes police accounts that Ball-Bey was carrying a gun that he pointed at officers.

"The cops' account doesn't wash," said Christmas. "He was not even in the house."

Christmas said the family is preparing to sue the St. Louis Police Department, and a petition could be filed as early as next week.

The police department did not respond to a request for comment.

Ball-Bey's was killed when St. Louis police were attempting to execute a search warrant at a home in a crime-ridden neighborhood. Two plains-clothes officers encountered Ball-Bey and another black teenager as they ran out the back door of the house where the search warrant was being executed, police said last week.

The two police officers, both of whom are white, said that Ball-Bey pointed a gun at them and they both fired in response.

An autopsy found Ball-Bey died from a single gunshot that entered his back and struck his heart.

Police said they recovered the gun and determined it was stolen.

Last week, Police Chief Sam Dotson said police had one witness who supported the account that Ball-Bey had pointed a gun at officers.

The killing triggered protests last week similar to those seen in the nearby suburb of Ferguson after the police shooting of black, unarmed teenager Michael Brown a year ago.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Sandra Maler)