We see incidents of police involved shootings constantly over in America, yet another black teenager was shot and killed in the St. Louis area, just two miles from Ferguson, Mo. This is the 4th deadly shooting by police since August of this year. Mike Brown, Kajieme Powell, VonDerrit Myers, and now Antonio Martin.
Antonio Martin, 18 and an unnamed friend were standing outside a Mobile Gas Station in Berkeley, Missouri when a police officer rolled into the parking lot. It appears that several customers walk over to the officer and speak with him for a few minutes. The unidentified officer then speaks with Antonio and his friend when, according to police, pulls out a gun and shoots at him. The officer then fired 3 or 4 shots at Antonio, striking him an undisclosed number of times.
Multiple witnesses on the scene verified that police refused any medical attention to the shot man. An Urgent Care Centre (small hospital type of facility in the USA) was just seconds away by car. Emergency medical services were not called by police, instead the officer immediately called police dispatch to summon “Crowd Control.” Sources confirm that police denied care to the shot suspect for 30 minutes, letting him bleed out and die.
Several hundred protestors and residents of the area arrived on the scene very quickly, using social media to spread the word. Rocks and bottles were thrown at police as tensions rose which prompted police to use pepper spray, tear gas, and arrest several involved. Some of those arrested had visible wounds from the violent encounter such as bloody noses and facial scrapes.
Riot police from various cities in the area arrived and kept the crowd at bay. Then a fire was started across the street inside a QuikTrip petrol station by unknown arsonists, but some from the crowd quickly rushed over and put it out. Police seemed to be arresting those attempting to help, but it was unclear from the distance.
Several videos show what happened leading up to the incident. The St. Louis County Police released the petrol station’s CCTV feeds to the public and you can see the best angle here:
You can see Antonio Martin raise his arm holding something in his hand, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that he was holding a gun. Please note that he never fired a shot at the officer. You can see the officer move backwards, fire shots, fall to the ground, then run away behind the petrol pumps. Despite these videos and clear evidence that the man did start the threatening gestures, protestors automatically assume the police killed him for no reason. This case is recorded and documented, unlike the Mike Brown incident. The real debate is whether or not lethal force should be used or not in the USA.
Protestors are upset and angry about the police using deadly force in the area and across America. Deep conversations are being had from both camps trying to come to an understanding and reform police interactions with the public. Unfortunately the extremes on both sides are refusing to hear each other out. Racist police celebrating the death of un/armed men being killed and some protestors calling for the death of police officers. We had even more tension after two New York City police officers were shot and killed by an angry man seeking revenge for civilian deaths. Loss of life should be and always is a tragedy, but for some reason race and social standing make some lives more valuable than others.
We were asked to come on Sky News to do a live interview about the incident. You can see it here: