Prosecutor Will Not Charge Two White St. Louis Cops Over Fatal Shooting of Black 18-Year-Old Mansur Ball-Bey Saying They Did It in Self-Defense
Associated Press, June 2, 2016
The prosecutor for St. Louis said Thursday she won’t be charging two officers in the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old last year, concluding that no evidence disproves claims by police that it was self-defense.
Calling Mansur Ball-Bey’s August 2015 death ‘a tragedy in every aspect of the word,’ Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said the officers and a witness reported that an armed Ball-Bey ran from a home during a drug and gun raid.
Both officers, who are white, have said they fired at Ball-Bey at the same time after he pointed a gun at one of them, though one officer missed, according to Joyce.
Joyce, whose office investigated the shooting separately from an internal police probe, said Ball-Bey’s loaded gun was found at the scene, with his palm print on the ammunition clip.
A local medical examiner concluded that Ball-Bey sustained a severed spinal cord, and a bullet pierced his heart.
‘One of the biggest challenges we face in this case is that there is no independent, credible witness we can put in front of a grand jury or regular jury who contradicts police statements,’ Joyce said in a statement. ‘None of the other witnesses had a clear view at the moment when Ball-Bey was shot.’
An attorney for Ball-Bey’s family, Jermaine Wooten, has questioned the police account, saying officers planted the gun on Ball-Bey at the scene if there was any weapon at all. Wooten said Thursday before Joyce’s announcement that he anticipated the officers would not be prosecuted, adding that he has ‘been down this road before’ with area police being cleared in fatal shootings involving blacks.
After Joyce’s decision, he reiterated that ‘we’re going to maintain the fact he did not have a gun that day.’
Ball-Bey’s death led to an outcry as well, with protests leading to arrests and damaged property. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Thursday he was confident Joyce made her decision after ‘a comprehensive review.’ He said his department plans to assess possible tactical lessons that could be learned.
‘I have pledged transparency to the citizens of St. Louis and will continue to uphold this promise,’ Dotson said in a statement.