No Charges Against St. Louis Police Officer Who Killed Black Teen

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The 18-year-old was fatally shot in October by Officer Jason Flanery, who has claimed self-defense

A St. Louis circuit attorney has declined to charge Officer Jason Flanery for the shooting death of 18-year-old VonDerrit Myers Jr.

According to the prosecutor’s report, on October 8, Flanery was patrolling a neighborhood when he encountered three Black teenagers, who then ran away after seeing the officer. One teen reportedly reached toward his body as he ran, as if he were preparing to discharge a weapon. Flanery chased the group, but did not catch them. 

The report goes on to say that later that evening, Flanery saw Myers, who he mistakenly thought was one of the three teens. A struggled ensued when Flanery confronted Myers, and the teen allegedly fired three shots before Flanery returned fire, striking Myers at least eight times. An autopsy confirmed that six of those shots were in Myers’ back.

Local authorities opened an investigation one week after his death. Yesterday, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce announced that Flanery would not face charges in Myers' death.

"Given the fact that Mr. Myers produced a weapon, Missouri laws pertaining to self-defense and an officer's use of deadly force apply," the prosecutor's office said via a statement. "Given all the available facts, witness statements, physical and forensic evidence and for reasons outlined in the detailed report, prosecutors have determined a criminal violation could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."

Myers' family claims that the teen was unarmed. And though a gun was recovered at the scene, it has not officially been linked to Myers. Family attorney Jerryl Christmas said that the family is preparing to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

"Jason Flanery should have been charged with murder," Christmas said to St. Louis Today. "The killing of VonDerrit was the same situation as the Walter Scott killing with the exception that [Myers' death] was not on video."

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