The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that an autopsy performed on Mansur Ball-Bey, showed that he died from a single wound in the back, police officials said. The black 18 year old’s death by a white police officer’s gunfire this week stirred protests, Mansur Ball-Bey was killed during a raid upon an aunt’s residence near Fountain Park on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015.
According to family accounts, Ball-Bey stopped by an aunt’s house to meet up with his cousins on his way home from his part-time job at FedEx. They were met by police in an unmarked car and Ball-Bey “got caught up in some bs being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Cotton-Booker said.
He was still in his FedEx uniform when he got shot, family said. The distraught family said they could not believe the police account because Ball-Bey, who went by Man Man, was not capable of those crimes: he had just graduated from high school, held a steady job and was heading to college, according to the New York Daily News.
His family belonged to Moorish Science Temple of America, at 2918 Sarah Avenue. Members wear a hat called a fez, and many include Bey or El in their last names.
St. Louis Police vigorously opposed body cameras, which could have easily proven the police’s version of events. I live near the Fountain Park area and rode through there the day before this incident. It’s hard to understand how you shoot someone pointing a gun and hit them in the back. “I understand people’s skepticism,” Police Chief Sam Dotson said Thursday. “But don’t let social media and innuendo drive what you believe to be true. You have to let the facts speak.”
It’s been over a year since the national debate about police body cams began. Had the officers involved been wearing body cams, those “facts” would have spoke volumes. People usually get shot in the back when they are running away. Just last month, it was body cam footage that revealed the truth in the unjustified killing of a black man by a University of Cincinnati police office. That video is included on the racial bias in media page.
Police have cited privacy concerns over body cams, however, the Missouri Supreme Court recently affirmed that Police officers have no constitutional ‘right of privacy’ in records of their official misconduct, when it denied the final appeal of police officers who wanted to block release of department records in the 2006 World Series ticket scandal.
Maybe some St. Louis police officers are afraid body cameras will reveal the darker side of policing as in this video below from last year.
Millions of people including retail, bank, casino, school employees and even office workers perform their duties under constant video surveillance. I’m certain many of those employees do not like it, but it’s part of the job. As Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey stated on Meet the Press, “we can’t afford to have that sort of thing in policing, the role we play in a democratic society is just too important”.
If the police routinely profile black people, then it’s only fair those same people profile police when there are so many senseless police killings. The St. Louis Police Department has lost the benefit of doubt in these types of cases until they implement the mandatory use of body cams. Write or call your alderman and tell them you demand body cams for police officers.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that David Klinger, an UMSL criminologist said the Supreme Court has ruled it constitutional for police to shoot someone in the back if they believe that person could be a threat. However, under U.S. law, the fleeing felon rule was limited in 1985 to non-lethal force in most cases by Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S.
The Supreme Court of the United States held that, under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”
So far in 2015 police in the United States have shot dead at least 626 people, almost 10% of them were unarmed according to the Washington Post. Another sources, KilledByPolice.net list 751 people killed by police this year as of August 20, 2015. Police in the US Kill Citizens at Over 70 Times the Rate of Other First-World Nations. One area in which the U.S. is unquestionably exceptional is the level of state violence directed against African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and working and poor people of all nationalities, according to GlobalResearch. U.S. police killings outnumber those in other developed capitalist countries by as much as 100-1! It would be ridiculous to believe that all of these killings are justified, but I assume most are.
I believe most cops are good cops and many go their entire career without firing their gun or killing anyone. Police should embrace body cams for the evidence record they provide and they are certainly the best tool to remove doubt about an officer’s version of events. The May 31, 2015 fatal police shooting of James Bushey, 47, of Elkhart, TX is a perfect example. The videos are taken from the body cameras of two officers with the Palestine, TX., police department. Bushey was suspected of stealing some alcohol from a local Wal-Mart. In the videos Sgt. Gabriel Green confronts Bushey in the bathroom of an Applebee’s restaurant. Green and Officer Kaylynn Griffin escort him outside then and then asked about identification, Bushey pulls a out what turns out to be a BB gun; and the officers open fire killing Bushey. I doubt that anyone watching these videos could argue that the officers were not justified. Any reasonable person would have feared for their lives in that situation. Warning, the video is graphic!
Sgt. Green Camera Footage
Officer Griffen Camera Footage
The two videos above demonstrate why police should embrace the use of body cameras. Those videos completely vindicate Green and Griffin and points out how professionally the officers handled the entire situation without escalation.