Police say that 18-year-old African-American teen Vonderrit Myers engaged in a vicious gun battle with an off-duty police officer when he was shot down in the street — but the facts do not match the police narrative. Police have since claimed that a gun was recovered from the scene, and that ballistics evidence proves that he shot at the officer.
However, numerous details in the police story seem to be, shall we say, malleable. For instance, they claim the teen was wearing a hoodie when he was shot — but he was captured on a store camera just six minutes before his death wearing nothing of the sort. An early version of the police story claimed that Myers leaped from some bushes at the officer, but a Twitter user photographed the scene, which featured a shocking lack of foliage. These details quickly disappeared from the narrative, and were replaced by a later claim that Myers “fell” and began firing at the officer from the ground.
Unfortunately for police, autopsies can reveal a lot, including that the teen was shot eight times total — six times in the back of his legs, once in his femur, and a fatal blow in the side of his head.
“The evidence shows that the story we’ve been given by the Police Department does not match up,” Myers family attorney Jerryl Christmas said. “There’s no evidence that there was a gun battle going on.”
Jermaine Wooten, another lawyer representing the teen’s family, said the shots from behind contradicted police claims that the teen was facing the officer the entire time.
Attempting to salvage their credibility, the officer’s attorney said that the autopsy does not contradict his version in the least, despite a rapidly changing narrative that is continually altered when pieces of it are shown to be outright lies. According to attorney Brian Milliken, the officer was not firing at the teen when he was running away, but when he was lying on his side with a gun in his hand.
“He was propped up on his left elbow, and his legs were facing out at the policeman as he went down, but he was still holding the gun and pointing it at the policeman,” Millikan explained.
The security company for which the officer was working has a history of violence, and has paid out tens of thousands of dollars to settle lawsuits involving off-duty cops it employs.
Witnesses say that Myers had nothing in his hand but a sandwich and, indeed, there is video of him purchasing a sandwich just before he was murdered.
“Like six minutes after I sold him a sandwich, he got shot. … He wasn’t armed when he was here. He didn’t have a hoodie.” said the manager of the market that sold the teen a sandwich.
The police report says that the officer and Myers “got into a physical altercation, with hands on each other. During the altercation, the suspect’s hooded sweatshirt came off of him.”
The shooting of Vonderrit Myers has refueled protests surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown, whose death also faced inaccurate and incomplete information from police, a constantly changing narrative, and incredibly suspicious circumstances.