Alexandra Martellaro, USA Today, Decmeber 25, 2014
Protesters took to the streets of Berkeley, Mo., for a second night Wednesday after a white police officer killed a black teenager who police said pointed a gun at him.
Dozens of protesters marched on Interstate 170, shutting it down for a brief time before heading to the Mobil gas station where Antonio Martin, 18, was shot and killed Tuesday night.
The shooting happened about 5 miles from Ferguson, where a white police officer fatally shot unarmed Michael Brown in August, sparking months of civil unrest.
NewsChannel 5 crews saw some people trying to get into a storefront near the gas station during the protests. Other protesters tried to stop the group.
Berkeley Police Chief Frank McCall told KMOV-TV that six to eight people were arrested.
As the situation escalated, protesters surrounded NewsChannel 5 crews and told them to leave the scene. The crews left.
About 75 people staged a peaceful protest early Christmas morning outside a nearby church, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Police in riot gear were present.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said Martin was armed with a loaded handgun, which he pointed at the officer before he was shot. The incident was captured by surveillance cameras.
Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins said Wednesday that surveillance footage appeared to show Martin pulling a gun on the unidentified 34-year-old officer, who was questioning him and another man about a theft at a convenience store.
Hoskins urged calm, saying, “You couldn’t even compare this with Ferguson or the Garner case in New York,” referring to the chokehold death of Eric Garner, another unarmed black man killed by a white police officer.
Hoskins, who is black, noted that unlike in Ferguson–where a mostly white police force serves a mostly black community–more than half of the officers in his city of 9,000 are black, including top command staff.
Belmar said Martin had a criminal record that included three assault charges, plus accusations of armed robbery, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon.