Ferguson Protests: Video Released Shows Tyrone Harris With Gun, Police Says
A surveillance video released by police on Tuesday shows a teenager drawing out a weapon from his waistband, following which he was shot by a plainclothes police in Ferguson, Missouri.
St. Louis County Police Department said the city’s Bureau of Crimes Against Persons identified the individual in the video as the 18-year-old Tyrone Harris Jr.
“The video shows Harris grab a handgun out of his waistband once shots are fired during the protest in the West Florissant corridor,” St. Louis County Police said.
Harris is currently in critical condition.
‘He Was Running For His… Life’
According to TIME, Harris’ father condemned the shooting, saying the description offered by the police was “a bunch of lies.” He further said that he was told by two girls who were with Harris at the time that Harris was not carrying any weapon.
“He was running for his … life because someone was shooting at him,” Tyrone Harris Sr. Said before the release of the surveillance video.
Following Sunday’s violence and unrest – which marked the one-year anniversary of the shooting of African-American Michael Brown – a state of emergency was declared Monday by the St. Louis County authorities.
The shooting instigated after two groups got involved in a shooting incident. A “remarkable” amount of gunfire – almost 40 to 50 rounds – was exchanged in the encounter, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said.
‘Criminals, Not Protestors’
Belmar further said that the people involved were “criminals, not protesters.”
Brown’s death, which was among a number of police killings of unarmed black men, sparked the “Black Lives Matter” movement. The other killings occurred in several cities across the country, including, New York, Baltimore and South Carolina.
Brian Fletcher, former mayor of Ferguson who is now on the city council, expressed his belief that the violence and unrest the city has witnessed in the last year was drawing to a close.
“If this is the worst that’s going to happen, then we’ll survive,” he said.
Fletcher established the “I Love Ferguson” store in October last year to raise funds for businesses that were affected in last year’s rioting, according to NewsWeek.
St. Louis County Police Department said that demonstrators taken into custody following Sunday’s protests were accused of throwing frozen water bottles and rocks at police, among other offenses.
A group of four white men – who claimed to be part of the “Oath Keepers” group – were also sighted on Ferguson’s streets, carrying military-style rifles and sidearms.
Described by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights organization, as a “fiercely anti-government, militaristic group,” the Oath Keepers say they are a group comprising of current and former U.S. soldiers and police with an aim to protect the U.S. Constitution.
Harris has been charged with four counts of assault on law enforcement, five counts of armed criminal action and one count of shooting at a motor vehicle. According to Newsweek, his bond has been set at $250,000.
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