1. Funeral for slain Missouri teen as family questions police shooting

Funeral for slain Missouri teen as family questions police shooting

Mourners were gathering on Saturday for the funeral of an 18-year-old black man whose shooting by a white police officer earlier this month re-ignited racial tensions in the St. Louis area

By: | Published: August 29, 2015 9:37 PM

Mourners were gathering on Saturday for the funeral of an 18-year-old black man whose shooting by a white police officer earlier this month re-ignited racial tensions in the St. Louis area.

The funeral for Mansur Ball-Bey comes 10 days after he was fatally shot in the back by a plainclothes police officer outside a home where police were serving a search warrant.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said two officers fired at Ball-Bey after he and another African-American ran out of the back of a home being searched and Ball-Bey pointed a gun at them.

Dotson said Ball-Bey was struck by one of the bullets and then ran from the backyard to the front of the house.

He said police recovered the gun that Ball-Bey dropped. The gun had been stolen, Dotson said.

The shooting set off days of protests as Ball-Bey’s family and some witnesses contradicted police accounts.

Questions mounted in recent days after the city’s medical examiner said Ball-Bey’s spinal cord was severed by the bullet, which may have limited his ability to run. The medical examiner said the bullet also struck Ball-Bey in the heart, which would have killed him immediately.

“Their story is not plausible,” said Jerryl Christmas, a lawyer representing Ball-Bey’s parents. “The police may have mistaken him for someone else when they shot. But he did not have a gun. He was not in that house.”

A pathologist hired by the family will review the findings, Christmas said.

Ball-Bey had just gotten off work and was waiting for a relative to give him a ride outside a home near the one police were searching on Aug. 19, Christmas said.

When Ball-Bey and a 14-year-old friend saw plainclothes officers with guns, they became frightened and started to run, he said.

Christmas said witnesses, including the 14-year-old, say Ball-Bey was not in the house being searched and did not have a gun.

“Do I think police could have planted that gun? Yes I think that,” Christmas said. “Whoever controls the crime scene controls the narrative.”

He said the family will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department.

The department said it could not comment while the shooting is under investigation.

The killing came about a year after the police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, ignited protests around the nation and a debate over police treatment of minorities.

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