The Corner

Law & the Courts

St. Louis in Flames — Again

In St. Louis, it’s déjà vu all over again:

The killing of an 18-year black man by St. Louis police in the city’s Fountain Park neighborhood once again ignited protests Wednesday, with an angry crowd disputing police accounts of the incident.

The shooting took place at 11:30 a.m., immediately attracting the attention of protesters already in the area to mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown. By evening, the situation had devolved into chaos. According to St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, demonstrators set a vacant house and empty car ablaze; threw bricks, water bottles, and other objects at police; and burned an American flag while chanting anti-police slogans. Late in the evening, police finally used smoke canisters and tear gas to break up the protests.

But what actually happened? According to police:

Two officers were executing a search warrant around noon Wednesday at a home near Walton and Page, Dotson said at a news conference, when two armed men ran out of the back door of the home.

One pointed a gun at police officers, the chief said. It appears two officers fired a total of four shots – one fired one shot, the other fired three shots, he said. According to a police report, both officers, who are white, were unharmed.

One suspect was hit, continued running, collapsed, and was pronounced dead at the scene, Dotson said. The suspect was a black 18-year-old, and he had a gun reported stolen from Rolla, Mo. In a statement Wednesday night, police identified him as Mansur Ball-Bey of St. Louis. . . .

Four guns and crack cocaine were recovered at or near the home, Dotson said, including the handgun wielded by the dead suspect. The same house last year yielded illegal guns during a police search.

There will be further investigation, but the circumstances of Mansur Ball-Bey’s death seem straightforward. As with Michael Brown and Tyrone Harris — the 18-year-old wounded by police in Ferguson earlier this month when he fired a stolen weapon on a carload of undercover cops while trying to sell a looted television — and Anthony Robinson and Ezell Ford, the outrage is, once again, far out in front of the facts.


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