Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families

19Nov/140

I Believe That We Will Win – Rally Cry for VonDerrit Myers, Jr.

By Katina Parker... #Justice4MikeBrown #Justice4Vonderrit #SpotlightOnFerguson #BlackLivesMatter

At the invitation of the Myers family, Ferguson protestors mount a rally cry outside the funeral of 18-year old VonDerrit Myers, Jr., who was gunned down by an off-duty police officer in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 8th, 2014, just one day before the 2-month anniversary of Mike Brown's murder.

I Believe That We Will Win - Rally Cry for VonDerrit Myers, Jr. from Katina Parker on Vimeo.

9Oct/140

St. Louis Teen Vonderrick Myers Killed By Off-Duty Cop – Earlier Tonight

There are conflicting reports about the circumstances, but what we know is that an 18-year old African American child, Vonderrick Myers Jr., was killed by an off-duty St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer working security in the Shaw area of south St. Louis.

Police officials are reporting that Myers fired on the officer, but witnesses on the scene said Myers was unarmed, and only had a sandwich in his hand. At least two witnesses said the officer tased Myers, and then proceeded to shoot him at least 16 times. They said Myers and three others were returning from a store directly across the street when the off-duty officer - serving as a security guard at the time - approached the group in his car.

Interestingly, several of the eyewitnesses said they had not been approached by any law enforcement officials to get their statements about what they witnessed. And the cops were out there for several hours after the killing, before taking the yellow tape down and opening up the street to the hundreds of protesters who gathered nearby.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

An off-duty city officer fatally shot a man who opened fire on him Wednesday night, police said.

Relatives who came to the scene, however, said the man had been unarmed. They identified the victim as Vonderrick Myers Jr., 18.

Police said the uniformed officer involved was working a secondary job for a private security company when he encountered four pedestrians in the 4100 block of Shaw Boulevard and stopped to talk with them at about 7:30 p.m.

The four fled and the officer chased one, Assistant Chief Alfred Adkins said.

The man the officer was chasing jumped from some bushes and struggled with the officer, Adkins said. The man then pulled a gun and fired at the officer, Adkins said. The officer returned fire and fatally shot the man.

The officer was not injured and a gun was recovered from the scene, police said.

The officer, 32, is a six-year veteran of the police department, Adkins said.

But in the same article, it's clear that multiple descriptions of what happened are emerging...

Teyonna Myers, 23, of Florissant, said Myers was her cousin.

“He was unarmed,” Teyonna Myers said. “He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It’s like Michael Brown all over again.

Jackie Williams, 47, said Myers was his nephew and lived with him in the 4200 block of Castleman, near the shooting scene. He said he had talked to several people who had been with his nephew or saw the shooting.

“My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich. Security was supposedly searching for someone else. They Tased him,” Williams said. “I don’t know how this happened but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.”

It should be noted that the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department had already tweeted its account of what happened within less than two hours of Myers being killed.

I'm sure we'll hear more in the coming hours, days and weeks. In the meantime, folks in the St. Louis area directly, and all of us who care about the lives and well-being of Black children and families, have yet another killing of a Black person at the hands of Missouri law enforcement.

One can only wonder what's going to happen with any attempts to get this officer prosecuted, particularly given the African American community's track-record and current experiences with the St. Louis County prosecutor's office.

Even greater urgency as we approach this weekend's planned awareness-raising, demonstration and protest activities in St. Louis, Ferguson October.

Black lives absolutely matter!