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Outrage: After Killing Missouri Teenager Antonio Martin, Police Say He 'Made Bad Choices'

December 24, 2014 in Blogs

By Andrew Buncombe, The Independent

The 18-year-old was shot by a white officer who says he acted in self-defense.

Police in St Louis have defended themselves in the aftermath of the shooting of a black teenager they said pointed a handgun at an officer and made “bad choices.” The local mayor said the incident was “not like Ferguson.”

Still reeling from the protests that erupted following the August shooting of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, and the more recent decision not to charge the officer involved in the incident, police released video footage they said supported their claim that the white officer involved in the latest shooting in the St Louis suburb of Berkeley was acting in self-defense.

The footage taken late Tuesday night, which appeared to show someone raising what appeared to be a gun, stops before the actual shooting of 18-year-old Antonio Martin. Police said they were trying to obtain additional footage. The officer was not wearing a personal camera and the video camera installed in the patrol car was not working, police said. An independent prosecutor is investigating the circumstances of the incident. 

The mayor of Berkeley, Theodore Hoskins, said the incident was not the same as that which played out in Ferguson in August. He said while Ferguson was a predominantly black town with a white mayor and white police chief, Berkeley has a black mayor and a black police chief. “We’re different than Ferguson,” Hoskins said.

He added that he understood the anger that has emanated from Berkeley’s black residents. “We all said the same thing [on Tuesday night],” Hoskins said at a press conference. “A white policeman killing a black man. When does this stop?”

At his own press conference Wednesday morning, Col. Jon Belmar, the chief of St. Louis County Police, said Antonio Martin, the young man who was shot dead, was known to the police and had been arrested three times since he was 17. He said the incidents involved armed robbery, assault and the illegal use of a weapon. He said a 9mm pistol recovered from the scene and purportedly carried by Martin, bore a serial number that had …read more


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