The first anniversary of the murder of unarmed Black teen Michael Brown by former Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson was marked by teargas and the shooting of another Black male. St. Louis County law enforcement officials have stated that Tyrone Harris, Jr., 18, was shot by four undercover police officers after he opened fire on their SUV. Harris is listed in critical and grave condition at this time. There was no explanation given as to why Harris fired on the vehicle; however, Harris’ father, Tyrone Harris, Sr., stated that his son was a close friend of Michael Brown and that “We think there’s a lot more to this than what’s being said.”
None of the officers involved in the shooting were wearing body cameras, which comes as a surprise to many, since Ferguson was ground zero for a call for use of the devices. A coalition of community groups that include Don’t Shoot Coalition, Hands Up United, Organization for Black Struggle and others issued a press statement today that stated, “After a year of protest and conversation around police accountability, having plain clothes officers without body cameras and proper identification in the protest setting leaves us with only the officer’s account of the incident, which is clearly problematic.”
The officers, who have between 6 and 12 years experience on the police force, were all placed on administrative leave while an investigation gets underway.
But the shooting of Tyrone Harris was not the only incident of gunfire. Police also reported that a group of unknown individuals engaged in a shooting spree on West Florissant Avenue. It was reported that gunfire went on for 40 to 50 seconds as crowds ran for cover. There were no reported injuries. Crowds were still on the street after 1:00 a.m. Monday morning and police used teargas in some areas to disperse the protesters.