Teen Killed by St. Louis Cops Was Shot in Back

Chief says Mansur Ball-Bey's autopsy means little at this point
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2015 12:11 PM CDT
Teen Killed by St. Louis Cops Was Shot in Back
Police stand near the scene of the officer-involved shooting in St. Louis.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

This doesn't bode well heading into the weekend: An autopsy reveals that the young black man killed by police during a chase on Wednesday was shot in the back, reports KSDK-TV. Police maintain that 18-year-old Mansur Ball-Bey turned and pointed a gun at pursuing officers who were serving a search warrant on a suspected drug house. The shooting set off protests later that night that resulted in police using tear gas, notes CNN, and it was unclear whether today's autopsy finding would lead to more. Police Chief Sam Dotson says the finding changes nothing at this point: "Just because he was shot in the back doesn't mean he was running away," he says. "It could be, and I'm not saying that it doesn't mean that. I just don't know yet."

Dotson added that he has not yet received statements from the two officers in the shooting, and those statements should fill in important details. An attorney for Ball-Bey's family tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that relatives and witnesses insist that the teen was unarmed. Police, however, say they have recovered the gun in Ball-Bey's possession, and DNA tests are pending. The newspaper also talks to a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis who says the autopsy report isn't necessarily damning. "If it was reasonable for these officers to believe he was a threat, then shots in the back mean nothing," he says. "If it's unreasonable, then he shouldn't have been shot, but we don't know without knowing all the information." (More St. Louis stories.)

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