Officer Not Charged in Vonderrit Myers Shooting
Decision prompts demonstrations in St. Louis: 'You need to know his name.'
The off-duty police officer who fatally shot black 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers in Shaw, Missouri last October will not be charged in his death.
Myers' killing, which occurred shortly after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, fueled growing civil rights protests. Officer Jason Flanery shot at Myers 17 times on the night of October 8, hitting him six times in the back of the legs and once in the face, according to the forensic pathologist who conducted Myers' autopsy.
Activists assembled in Kiener Plaza in St. Louis on Tuesday to march in protest against the decision not to charge Flanery. On Twitter, reactions came under the hashtag #VonderritMyers.
See, when #VonDerritMyers was killed, we were still protesting to convince the world that police violence was an epidemic. And here we are.
— deray mckesson (@deray) May 19, 2015
You need to know his name. You need to know he loved and you need to know I will always fight for #VonderritMyers Because he matters!
— KayRay (@RE_invent_ED) May 19, 2015
St. Louis circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce's report, released on Monday, said that a criminal violation could not be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt."
According to STL Today, Flanery had told investigators the incidents started "when three youths ran from his marked security car, one of them holding his hand against his body as if securing a gun. The officer did not catch them, and approached Myers shortly later, believing it was the same person. But Myers was wearing a GPS monitor on his ankle as a condition of his bail on charges from June 27 of unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest. 'Based on this GPS information, it appears Myers was not the person Officer X was chasing...' the prosecutor’s report says."
Jerryl Christmas, the lawyer representing Myers' family, disputed the official account of the shooting. The family has consistently denied that Myers had a gun and said he had been holding a sandwich. Christmas, who plans to file a civil suit on behalf of the family, told the LA Times that he believes a gun recovered from the scene, said to be Myers', was planted.
"Flanery is lying when he said he was in a gun battle," Christmas said. "He shot this boy seven times from behind."