The St. Louis-area is currently facing another case that questions the integrity and credibility of local police officers.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Officer Jason H. Flanery, who fatally shot VonDerrit Myers Jr. in October 2014, has resigned from the St. Louis police force. Flanery was being investigated by the department for fleeing the scene after his squad car hit a parked vehicle. An eyewitness identified the car, which was traced to Flanery’s home. He also may have been intoxicated because he refused a breathalyzer test. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said that since Flanery refused the breathalyzer test, the department requested a search warrant and returned to his home to request a blood donation.
“We handled the criminal investigation just as we would anyone in a suspected drunk-driving accident,” Dotson said. “When he refused the breath alcohol test, we followed our procedures and obtained a search warrant to draw blood.”
According to The Post-Dispatch, Flanery was arrested on Saturday and booked on driving while intoxicated and leaving an accident. Susan Ryan, spokesperson for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, said charges have not yet been filed against Flanery. She insisted that Flanery would not receive preferential treatment.
“This case will be handled just as any situation under the same circumstances,” she said.
Local prosecutors also declined to file charges against Flanery in the Myers shooting. Flanery fatally shot and killed Myers while on a security patrol in Shaw. However, in a press statement, Joyce said she declined to indict Flanery because “a criminal violation could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The decision incensed Jerryl Christmas, an attorney for the Myers’ family.
“Jason Flanery should have been charged with murder,” Christmas said in a Post-Dispatch article. “The killing of VonDerrit was the same situation as the Walter Scott killing with the exception that (Myers’ shooting) was not on video.”
The Myers shooting is questionable. Police initially claimed they found a Ruger on Myers’ body. But they later said that was a mistake and the gun was actually a Smith & Wesson, similar to a gun Myers was shown holding in pictures posted to social media. The police report also claimed Myers fired several shots at Flanery, but his family disputes this.
“He was unarmed,” said Teyonna Myers, who told The Post-Dispatch she was a cousin. “He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It’s like Michael Brown all over again.”