Dotson says 14-year-old witnessed Mansur Ball-Bey shooting
Family attorney claims teen’s account differs from initial police report
Police Chief Sam Dotson addressed the media concerning the past few days in the Fountain Park neighborhood and the announcement of initial autopsy findings that show Mansur Ball-Bey was fatally wounded by a single gunshot wound to the back during a recent officer involved shooting. (Wiley Price\St. Louis American)
By Rebecca Rivas, Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American
Many were enraged when the St. Louis city police department’s preliminary autopsy results showed that Mansur Ball-Bey, 18, died from a gunshot wound in the back.
However, at a press briefing held recently, Police Chief Sam Dotson said that does not mean he was running away when he was shot. Dotson said the two officers allege that Ball-Bey was pointing a gun at them.
“There were two officers, and they weren’t standing in the same spot,” he told the St. Louis American in an interview.
When asked if the investigation showed that one officer was standing in front of Ball-Bey and the other at his back, he said that’s still part of the investigation.
Ball-Bey, who police said did not fire a shot, was struck and pronounced dead at the scene near the intersection of Walton Avenue and Page Boulevard. Police say they recovered the gun that they say Ball-Bey had.
On Aug. 19, four people were in the house when the St. Louis police officers served a search warrant to a house in the Fountain Park neighborhood on the 1200 block of Walton Road. Two Black males fled out the back of the house into the alley, police said. One was Ball-Bey, and the other is an unnamed 14-year-old boy.
Dotson told the American that they have not yet interviewed the boy, but his inter-view will be crucial to the investigation.
The attorney representing Ball-Bey’s family, Jermaine Wooten, said he’s spoken with the boy several times and he said neither of them had guns. Ball-Bey worked at the 4 a.m. shift for Fed-Ex and lived with his family in Spanish Lake.
“His record is squeaky clean,” Wooten said. “It makes no sense that he would have a gun.”
He also said his team has spoken with several witnesses who said they never saw him with a gun. Ball-Bey was visiting relatives that day, and the boy with him was a friend from the neighborhood, he said.
The boys ran because the police officers were in plain clothes and did not warn them before they fired shots, according to Wooten’s interviews with the 14-year-old.
People began gathering in the streets shortly after the incident occurred, some mourning and some demanding to know why he was shot. Heavily armed police deployed tear gas into the residential neighborhood that night (Aug. 19) in an attempt to quell protests throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
Police made nine arrests at the protest, seven men and two women. All were charged with impeding the flow of traffic, and one woman was charged with resisting arrest.
Wooten said Ball-Bey’s family wants police to conduct a thorough investigation.
He said, “They want to know whether or not someone murdered their son.”
The protest community circulated the theory that Jason Flanery, who killed VonDerrit Myers Jr. in what authorities ruled a justified shooting, also shot Ball-Bey. Dotson told the American that is not true.
It couldn’t be true, because both officers who shot Ball-Bey were immediately placed on administrative leave, while Flanery worked the protest following the shooting and was documented widely on social media.
Asked about Flanery staffing a protest following another fatal police shooting of a civilian, Dotson said Flanery was cleared of wrongdoing in the Myers shooting and the chief has no grounds on which to restrict his duty.