ST. LOUIS – Two months after a Ferguson, Missouri, officer killed Michael Brown, setting off intense national debate about law enforcement treatment of minorities, the shooting death of another black 18-year-old by police in nearby St. Louis has reignited anger among activists already planning weekend protests.
Police say Vonderrit D. Myers was shot Wednesday after he opened fire on a white, off-duty officer, but Myers’ parents say he was unarmed.
The shooting happened as activists and other protesters from around the country prepared for four days of rallies, marches and protests over the Brown shooting. Organizers say the events, which start today, have taken on added urgency.
“This is a racial powder keg,” said Jerryl Christmas, a St. Louis attorney who was among more than 20 black leaders who joined Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis democrat, at a news conference Thursday outside police headquarters. “All this is going to do is escalate the situation.”
Police say Myers was both armed and aggressive, using a stolen 9 mm gun to shoot at the officer.
Syreeta Myers said her son was holding a sandwich, not a gun. “Police lie. They lied about Michael Brown, too,” she told the Associated Press by phone Thursday.