Human Rights

St. Louis Protestors Rally Over Death of Honors Student Shot 25 Times by Police

Witnesses say Cary Ball, Jr. was unarmed when police opened fire, killing him.

Photo Credit: Family of Cary Ball Jr. (far left)

Protestors rallied for the second time in a week on Wednesday over the fatal shooting by police officers of a 25-year-old, St. Louis man who witnesses say was “unarmed” at the time of his death last month, KMOX reports.

Police reports say Cary Ball, Jr. crashed his car after being chased, jumped out, ran away, and pointed his gun at police. At that point, two veteran officers fired 25 shots at Ball, killing him. The officers involved were placed on administrative leave on April 25, 2013, the morning after the incident.

As KMOX reports, witnesses describe a different scene. Protest organizers say several witnesses saw Ball throw his handgun on the ground and walk towards the police with his hands up before he was shot to death. Only one of those witnesses, Cary’s brother Carlos Ball, spoke to media.

“They looked at the gun on the ground and fired,” said Carlos Ball, “He never fired. They never fired, until the gun was nowhere near him.”

Carlos believes his brother ran from the police because he was an ex-convict and knew that it was illegal for him to carry a gun.

According to KMOX, Ball spent five-and-a-half years in prison, three for armed robbery when he was 17 and a two-and-a-half for probation violations. But as independent journalist Rania Khalek notes, the ex-convict was turning his life around. Before his death, Ball was studying human services at Forest Park Community College, where he maintained a 3.86 GPA and received the distinction of “emerging scholar.”

St. Louis Police officials say the case is still under investigation.

“We’ve invited the family and the witnesses to provide statements to us,” chief Sam Dotson told KMOX, “Some of them have. Some of them haven’t. I encourage anybody who has information, we’re certainly looking into the matter.”

Dotson says no surveillance video of the scene has been found.

h/t Dispatches From the Underclass

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.

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