St. Louis prosecutor still probing black teen's fatal shooting by police

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 19, 2016 2:45 PM

By Sue Britt

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - The St. Louis prosecutor's office said on Tuesday its investigation into the fatal shooting last summer of an 18-year-old black man by police remains open and no decision has been made on whether to charge the officers involved.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police finished its probe of Mansur Ball-Bey's shooting in August and recently sent the findings to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce without filing charges against the officers, her office said.

"We will review the (St. Louis police) report," George Sells, a spokesman for the Circuit Attorney's Office said in an email. "However, the decision to charge will be made independently by this office."   

Joyce's office has been investigating the shooting since last August and Sells said no officers in the incident will be identified unless they are charged.

He did not provide a timeline for the investigation, but the family hopes it will close soon.

"We're hopeful that the decision will be coming about over the next week or two. We're also hoping a charge will be issued," Jermaine Wooten, the family's attorney, said in a telephone interview.

A spokesman for the St. Louis police could not be reached to comment on Tuesday.

Ball-Bey was killed as St. Louis police were attempting to execute a search warrant at a home in a crime-ridden neighborhood, police previously said. Two plainclothes 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.

However, Wooten said Ball-Bey was in a backyard two houses away when police approached him and he ran.

The two officers said Ball-Bey pointed a gun at them and they both fired in response, according to the police. The police said they recovered a gun Ball-Bey dropped and determined it was stolen.

The family's attorneys said no one they spoke with ever saw Ball-Bey with a gun. The family has asked that forensic evidence be gathered from the gun and the officers involved be identified.

A coroner's report found that one bullet struck Ball-Bey in the back, severing his spinal cord and hitting his heart.

St. Louis and the nearby suburb of Ferguson have drawn protests over police treatment of minorities after a white Ferguson officer fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American, in August 2014. That and other fatal incidents ignited protests around the United States.

(Reporting by Sue Britt, writing by Ben Klayman; Editing by Marguerita Choy)