Off-Duty Officer 'Treated As Ordinary Black Guy,' Shot By Another Cop

Posted June 25, 2017

An off-duty black St. Louis police officer's race factored into him being mistakenly shot by a white officer who didn't recognize him during a shootout with black suspects this week, the wounded officer's lawyer contends.

Police are still searching for the third suspect involved in this incident.

Both the Post-Dispatch and Fox say the off-duty officer left his house armed with his service weapon after hearing "commotion" related to the pursuit of the stolen vehicle, which crashed after its occupants reportedly fired shots at police. He complied. When they recognized the off-duty officer, they told him he could stand up and walk toward them. Officers were following three suspects in a stolen auto Wednesday night when shots were fired at police, prompting an exchange of gunfire.

It occurred around 10pm last Wednesday when St. Louis police heard a report that a vehicle had been stolen. Interim Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole says gunfire rang out after tire-flattening device was used on the suspect's auto and again when the vehicle stopped less than a mile later.

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Police took the injured suspect into custody after his release from the hospital, and arrested another at the scene. Fortunately, the Black officer suffered a non-life-threatening injury and was later released from the hospital.

There have been numerous protests against the police in Missouri since the death of Michael Brown, who was shot by an officer in Ferguson in 2014.

Tate says a "black professional in law enforcement" was "treated as an ordinary black guy on the street".

The third suspect who had been in the stolen auto managed to escape. His attorney, Rufus Tate Jr., says the shooting is a "real problem", Fox 2 reports. So we have a real problem with that.

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The police department has given no description of a threat, he said.

The New York Daily News identities the off-duty officer as black and the shooting officer as white. Young - at the time the son of the department's highest-ranking black officer - was dressed in baggy jeans, an overcoat and a baseball cap, and he was carrying a gun. "But this has been a national discussion for the past two years; there's this perception that a Black man is automatically feared". Two guns were recovered from the suspects.

The investigation remains ongoing, Jackson said. Investigators told local news outlets that the officers didn't see the teen in the darkness where they were firing.

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