Ferguson police officers try to calm down a crowd near the scene where 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by police in Ferguson, Mo., near St. Louis.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
FERGUSON, Mo. — St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar says the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown came after an altercation with police.
Belmar said at a news conference Sunday morning that a Ferguson Police officer had an encounter with two people. He says one person allegedly pushed the officer back into patrol car and assaulted the officer.
He says there was a struggle over the officers’ weapon and one shot was fired in the car. The officer then got out of his vehicle and shot at “a subject.”
He says the man suffered more than a couple gunshots, but “not many more than that.”
Belmar says the officer has been with the department for six years and he wasn’t aware of other issues involving.
A local NAACP chapter has called for a federal investigation into the death of a black teenager who was shot by police in a St. Louis suburb.
Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed Saturday afternoon near his grandmother’s house by a Ferguson police officer. St. Louis County police have not given a reason for the shooting, which happened in a predominantly black suburb a few miles north of downtown St. Louis.
After the shooting, a confrontation between police and hundreds of neighborhood residents lasted several hours, with shouts of “kill the police.” At the height of the post-shooting tensions, police called for about 60 other units to respond to the area in Ferguson, a city of about 21,000 residents, about two-thirds of whom are black.
The St. Louis County Police are investigating the shooting. But John Gaskin, a member of the St. Louis County NAACP, said the FBI should get involved “to protect the integrity of the investigation.”
He alluded to the 2012 racially charged shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was subsequently acquitted of murder charges, as well as the New York man who died from a police chokehold after he was confronted for selling individual cigarettes.
“With the recent events of a young man killed by the police in New York City and with Trayvon Martin and with all the other African-American young men that have been killed by police officers ... this is a dire concern to the NAACP, especially our local organization,” Gaskin said.
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she would ask the U.S. Justice Department on Monday for a formal investigation.
Brown’s grandmother, Desiree Harris, said she saw him running in her neighborhood Saturday afternoon. Just minutes later, she heard a commotion and went outside to check on it. She found Brown’s body less than two blocks away.
“When I got up there, my grandson was lying on the pavement. I asked the police what happened. They didn’t tell me nothing.”
Harris said her grandson had recently graduated high school and was looking forward to the future.
“My grandson never even got into a fight,” she said. “He was just looking forward to getting on with his life. He was on his way.”
Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, had harsh words Saturday for authorities: “You’re not God, you don’t get to decide when you get to take somebody from here,” she told KSDK.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told the Post-Dispatch that the officer involved has been placed on paid administrative leave.
“We are hoping for calm and for people to give us a chance to conduct a thorough investigation,” Jackson said.