It’s hard to imagine how this could have happened. A 25-year old honors student in St. Louis found himself dead after being shot 25 times by the police. Witnesses are saying that he put his gun on the ground and had his hands in the air when he was shot. Police are saying that he ran away from them and pointed his gun. Whose lying?
“The way St. Louis streets work, we’re afraid out here. We’re afraid of the police. We’re afraid of other youth who may want to pull a gun and fire on you. So, sometimes people have guns just to protect themselves, not with the intentions to do a criminal act with it,” said Carlos Ball, the brother of Cary Ball Jr., who was shot.
Ball was fleeing officers after running a traffic stop. Police were on a special “hot spot” detail and say that they tried to stop the young man’s car twice, but that he kept driving, hit a parked car, and ran. They claim that they had to shoot him when he pointed his gun at them.
Protesters in the city are outraged over what happened here and say that police are lying. Witnesses say that Cary wasn’t holding his gun and had in fact put it on the ground when he was shot. They also say that his hands were in the air.
“We are making every effort to first, inform the public as well as mobilize the public to put an end to this kind of police violence,” organizer Zaki Baruti told KMOX. “The police ought to be protecting and serving the community but we do have almost like vigilante kinds of officers on the force that need to be removed immediately.”
The protesters held a rally at the police station last week. Cary’s brother Carlos admits that his brother had a gun, but it was only for protection. He says that he ran from police because he knew that an ex-convict could not have a gun.
Since serving three years in prison for armed robbery, Cary had turned his entire life around. He was an honor student at the Forest Park Community College with a 3.86 GPA. He’d been honored as an “Emerging Scholar.”
The officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave pending further investigation. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson told reporters that the department is looking into what witnesses have to say.
“We’ve invited the family and the witnesses to provide statements to us,” Dotson said, “Some of them have. Some of them haven’t. I encourage anybody who has information, we’re certainly looking into the matter.”