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Latest Police Shooting Adds to Tension in St. Louis Area

Area residents talk to police after a shooting incident in St. Louis, Mo. (Reuters/Lawrence Bryant)

Area residents talk to police after a shooting incident in St. Louis, Mo. (Reuters/Lawrence Bryant)

The St. Louis area is still on edge a year after the death of Michael Brown. The latest incident involves a police shooting that left a young Black man dead.

St. Louis police fatally shot a Black teenager on Wednesday who they say pointed a gun at them. Angry crowds gathered, sparking racial tensions once again. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the shooting took place when young Black men ran out the back door of a house where officers were carrying out a search warrant.

Police said they were conducting a search for guns and violent felons in the area, when a suspect pointed a gun at them. The officers opened fire killing Mansur Ball-Bey, 18. Another suspect escaped. Police said they later recovered three stolen guns and crack cocaine from the scene.

The killing led to a violent reaction from a group of bystanders. At a press conference late Wednesday, Dotson said protesters were throwing bricks and glass bottles at officers who used tear gas to disperse the crowd. A car was also set on fire and Dotson says that local businesses reported robbery attempts.

The St. Louis area is still dealing with tensions from the Michael Brown shooting. While Officer Darren Wilson is free, local authorities have decided to file charges against hundreds of protesters who were arrested in last year’s anti-police demonstrations. Journalists who were reporting on the protests, including Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly were also charged with trespassing and interfering with police officers. Canadian TV’s Tom Walters was also charged with interfering with a police officer.

Black Ferguson residents have been arrested for simply congregating on the street, but local police have done nothing about heavily-armed Oath Keepers, who are patrolling the streets. The Oath Keepers, a group of soldiers, police officers and first responders who claim they will refuse to carry out unconstitutional orders, said they were in town to provide security for journalists from Infowars. The Infowars journalists deny they requested Oath Keepers security, and local police said the Oath Keepers did not have their permission to patrol the streets.

Black Ferguson residents say the Oath Keepers have the privilege to wander the streets with assault weapons without worrying about being arrested or shot. However, the Oath Keepers have offered to arm Black residents.

“Every person we talked to said if they carried they’d be shot by police,” said Sam Andrews, head of the Oath Keepers chapter in St. Louis County, according to Raw Story. “That’s the reason we’re going to hold this event, and it will be a legal demonstration. I’m sick and tired of law enforcement who doesn’t think they have to abide by the law. They’re narcissistic and [the county police chief] discredited my men.”

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