Source: Bipartisan Report
Late Wednesday night, police in St. Louis pursued and then fired shots at a group of teens who had stolen and crashed a car. One of the suspects was hit, but there was another victim who had nothing to do with the robbery.
A black off-duty police officer who showed up at the scene to help out was also shot by a white fellow officer.
Early Thursday morning, Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole told the press that the injured officer came to the scene to offer assistance and was hit in the crossfire between officers and the suspects. O’Toole originally said the officer was wounded by “friendly fire.”
The police department’s story has changed since then, though, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Now, other officers have said that the cop who did the shooting did not recognize the victim as a fellow officer. The shooting also reportedly happened away from the initial crash, contrary to O’Toole’s report.
A department summary that was released on Thursday says that two on-duty officers encountered their off-duty colleague as he was approaching the scene with his department-issued firearm. The off-duty cop was originally ordered to the ground by two other officers. He complied, and the two officers then recognized him as a fellow cop. They told him that he could stand up and walk toward them.
Another officer arrived at the scene at the same time and fired his weapon at the off-duty officer, not knowing who he was. This officer justified the shooting by saying he feared for his safety. The off-duty officer was hit in the arm and has since been treated at and released from the hospital.
The injured officer is 38 and has been with the department for 11 years, while the officer who shot him is 36 and has been with the department for 8 years.
Seven of the officers who were involved in the search for the suspects have been placed on administrative leave as a result of the shooting that took place during that pursuit. According to Fox2Now, it hasn’t been clarified if the officer who shot his colleague is also on administrative leave.
In response to the shooting, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson told the press that she is relieved that the injured officer was not more seriously hurt.
‘It’s always a touch-and-go situation. It could have been a lot worse tonight.’
A statement from the officer’s lawyer, Rufus J. Tate Jr., was less positive. Tate told the press that the fact that a black police officer was shot by one of his own is “a real problem.”
‘This is the first time that we are aware, that a black professional, in law enforcement, himself being shot and treated as an ordinary black guy on the street. This is a real problem.
‘In the police report, you have so far, there is no description of threat he received. So we have areal problem with that. But this has been a national discussion for the past two years. There is this perception that a black man is automatically feared.’
A news report about the shooting can be seen in the video below, available via YouTube: