Harris charged with attack on law enforcement, bond $250,000, remains in hospital
Cops in riot gear, military formation launch attack on marchers
New round of rallies planned for Mon. Aug. 10, after Harris shooting
State of emergency declared in Ferguson
Mainstream media, police chief call violence the work of “criminals.” ignore ongoing war by U.S. law enforcement that has taken lives of at least 706 in 2015 to date, 8 in Ferguson itself, and continuing unemployment, mass incarceration of Black, Latin and poor youth
August 10, 2015
The person shot in Ferguson by a police officer after a day of commemorating the first anniversary of Michael Brown’s death has been identified by his father as 18-year-old Tyrone Harris Jr., of St. Louis, who was “real close” to Brown, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
“We think there’s a lot more to this than what’s being said,” Harris Sr. said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, adding that his son had graduated from Normandy High School. Harris Sr. also added that his son had just come out of surgery early on Monday.
Jon Belmar, the head of St. Louis County police, said that a man opened fire on plainclothes detectives on Sunday evening. He was then pursued and shot by officers. The police chief did not identify the suspect, but said he was in a “critical” and “unstable” condition in hospital and undergoing surgery.
Belmar added that the suspect had been tracked throughout the protest as police believed he was armed. Officers allege the suspect approached the detectives who were sitting in a van and opened fire with a 9mm gun that had been stolen last year.
The officers have all been placed on administrative leave, in keeping with standard practice after police-involved shootings. Belmar said none of the officers, who have between six and 12 years’ experience, was seriously injured.
Andre Anderson, the acting head of Ferguson’s Police Department, added that several people were detained during the protests, but did not specify how many had been arrested.
The gunfire occurred as Anderson was speaking to CNN about how the police, “just wanted to be as patient as possible.” As he talked, some 20 shots could clearly be heard in the background. The clip of the incident showed the police chief was shocked, as he looked away in awe when the shooting began.
The head of St. Louis County police also told a news conference on Monday morning that a second shooting had occurred in Ferguson. The incident reportedly involved two groups of people on the west side of West Florissant Avenue. It happened just before police shot Harris Jr.
Belmar added that 40 and 50 shots were fired in an exchange between the two groups, and the incident he described as “remarkable” lasted around 45 seconds. “They were criminals. They weren’t protesters,” Belmar said of those involved in the shootings. He did not say if there were any casualties from the shooting on West Florissant Avenue.
Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was killed by Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014. He was walking through a St. Louis suburb when he became involved in an altercation with the officer. Wilson fired approximately 12 shots from his department-issued handgun. At least eight of them struck the teen’s body and two were fired at his head, despite the fact that Brown was unarmed.
A grand jury and the US Department of Justice refused to prosecute Wilson, which led to riots in Ferguson and across the US, with protesters angered in their belief that justice had not been served.
COPS SHOOT ‘SUSPECT’ DURING FERGUSON PROTEST
By Jim Salter and Jim Suhr
Ferguson, Mo. — A suspect who authorities say opened fire on officers in Ferguson, Missouri, on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death was critically wounded when the officers shot back, St. Louis County’s police chief said early Monday.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the latest police-involved shooting would spur renewed unrest in Ferguson, the site of many protests — some violent — in the aftermath of Brown’s death on Aug. 9, 2014. Protest groups were quick to criticize the police response to protesters who gathered along West Florissant Avenue on Sunday night.
St. Louis County Chief Jon Belmar said at a news conference that officers had been tracking the suspect, who they believed was armed, during a protest marking the death of Brown, the black, unarmed 18-year-old whose killing by a white Ferguson police officer touched off a national “Black Lives Matter” movement.
At the height of what was already a rowdy protest in which rocks and bottles were thrown at officers, gunshots rang out from the area near a strip of stores, including some that had been looted. Belmar believes the shots came from about six different shooters. What prompted the shooting wasn’t clear, but Belmar said the groups had been feuding.
At one point, the suspect crossed the street and apparently spotted the plainclothes officers arriving in an unmarked van with distinctive red and blue police lights, Belmar said. He said the suspect shot into the hood and windshield.
The officers fired back at him from inside the vehicle then pursued him on foot when he ran.
The suspect again fired on the officers when he became trapped in a fenced-in area, the chief said, and all four officers fired back. He was struck and fell.
The suspect was taken to a hospital, where Belmar said he was in “critical, unstable” condition. Authorities didn’t immediately release the identities of anyone involved, but Tyrone Harris told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the injured suspect was his son, 18-year-old Tyrone Harris Jr.
The elder Harris told the newspaper shortly after 3 a.m. that his son had just gotten out of surgery.
None of the officers was seriously injured. All four have been put on standard administrative leave. They were not wearing body cameras, Belmar said.
Below: Protesters in Ferguson Aug. 7, 2015 explain their rage.
The shooting happened shortly after a separate incident that the chief called “an exchange of gunfire between two groups” rang out around 11:15 p.m. Sunday while protesters were gathered on West Florissant Avenue, a business zone that saw rioting and looting last year after Brown’s killing. The shots sent protesters and reporters running for cover.
The chief said an estimated six shooters unleashed a “remarkable” amount of gunfire over about 45 seconds.
Belmar waved off any notion that the people with the weapons were part of the protest.
“They were criminals. They weren’t protesters,” he said.
The suspect who fired on officers had a semi-automatic 9 mm gun that was stolen last year from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, according to the chief.
“There is a small group of people out there that are intent on making sure that peace doesn’t prevail,” he said. “There are a lot of emotions. I get it. But we can’t sustain this as we move forward.”
Some protest groups were critical of police.
“It was a poor decision to use plainclothes officers in a protest setting because it made it difficult for people to identify police officers, which is essential to the safety of community members,” Kayla Reed, a field organizer with the Organization of Black Struggle, said in a statement.
“After a year of protest and conversation around police accountability, having plainclothes officers without body cameras and proper identification in the protest setting leaves us with only the officer’s account of the incident, which is clearly problematic.”
Early Monday, another reported shooting drew officers to an apartment building in the area. Two males told police they were targeted in a drive-by shooting near the memorial to Brown outside Canfield Apartments. A 17-year-old was shot in the chest and shoulder while a 19-year-old was shot in the chest, but their injuries were not life-threatening, the St. Louis County Police said in a news release.
Separately, police said a 17-year-old suspect has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon and one count of resisting arrest after he fired shots near the protesters late Sunday. He is being held on $100,000 bond.
The anniversary of Brown’s killing, which cast greater scrutiny on how police interact with black communities, has sparked days of renewed protests, though until Sunday they had been peaceful and without any arrests.
Before the gunfire, protesters were blocking traffic and confronting police. One person threw a glass bottle at officers but missed.
For the first time in three consecutive nights of demonstrations, some officers were dressed in riot gear, including bullet-proof vests and helmets with shields. Police at one point early Monday shot smoke to disperse the crowd that lingered on West Florissant, Belmar said.
One officer was treated for cuts after a rock was thrown at his face, and two officers were pepper-sprayed by protesters, county police spokesman Officer Shawn McGuire said in an email. Five people were arrested, according to records McGuire released.
Several other peaceful events earlier Sunday were held to mark the anniversary.
Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., led a march through town. It started at the site where Brown was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned in November.
Later, a few hundred people turned out at Greater St. Mark Family Church for a service to remember Brown, with his father joining other relatives sitting behind the pulpit.
Organizers of some of the weekend activities pledged a day of civil disobedience on Monday, but have not offered specific details.
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