St. Louis County has erupted in violence overnight as another suspicious killing of a young black male by police officers has taken place.
The deceased, identified as 18-year-old Antonio Martin, was shot once after an officer discharged his weapon three times during an altercation at a Mobile Gas station. Martin, who was allegedly armed at the time of the shooting, is not believed to have fired his weapon.
The claim that Martin was indeed armed is still being questioned by citizens, who seem to have visual evidence that officers may have planted a gun at the scene (please see slideshow for details). The video that has been released seems to show the victim aiming something at the officer, however. What is clear is that following the shooting, no form of medical assistance was offered to Martin, as he lay dying in the cold for upwards of 30 minutes. His mother, who was on the scene as he lay dying, was not even able to offer her son any form of comfort as he took his final breaths.
During a press conference on Wednesday morning, police attempted to criminalize Martin and justify killing him by pointing that “He was known to law enforcement” and had a violent criminal past.
The St. Louis County Police said the 6 year veteran’s patrol car was fitted with a video camera but it is only activated when the car’s red lights are flashing, and they were not at the time. Also, the 34-year-old officer had been assigned a body cam, which he was not wearing at the time. Surveillance footage from the scene of the shooting, however, has been released and can be viewed to your right. St Louis police chief Jon Belmar said officers were “not used to” the new technology, and that the surveillance footage from the gas station was described as “really pretty good”.
Soon after the shooting, which transpired at 11:15 pm local time, protesters clashed with law enforcers at the scene. The victim’s body was not removed until around 1:30 am. Loud bangs and smoke were also reported. Police, however, saying that had learned lessons from previous recent events in Ferguson, allowed protesters “to vent.”
Antonio Martin’s mother has spoken to a local reporter, saying, “This doesn’t make any sense for them to kill my son like this”.
Speaking to the St Louis Post-Dispatch , Toni Martin-Green said Martin, the oldest of her four children, was “like any other kid who had dreams or hopes.”
The dead teenager’s father, Jerome Green, told the paper that he had recently been trying get work through the Job Corps. “In the last year, he was really trying to find who he was. He was ready to take the world on. He knew he had parents who loved him. He had that support.”
The family expressed their disbelief that he would have wielded a gun at a police officer. “Why would he pull out a gun against the police? That’s the thing I don’t get. It just doesn’t add up,” his grandmother Margret Chandler said.
The unnamed officer involved has been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.