The police officer who shot Vonderrit Myers, an African-American teen who allegedly fired on the off-duty officer as he worked a security job, has finally been identified — but not on purpose. Police have changed the story on their version of events numerous times since the teen was gunned down by the St. Louis police officer.
Though police say the teen had a gun, nearly everyone else says Myers was unarmed and had only a sandwich — including the person who sold him the sandwich. “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 Myers his sandwich, referencing police claims that “During the altercation, the suspect’s hooded sweatshirt came off of him.”
In the six minutes between the sandwich purchase and Myers’ death, according to police, the teenager acquired not only a weapon, but a new hoodie as well. Police also claimed that the teen hid behind some bushes and ambushed the officer, until someone on Twitter posted photos of the scene of the murder — photos that were entirely devoid of bushes. Unsurprisingly, this claim quickly disappeared from the police narrative.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has confirmed the off-duty officer is Jason H. Flanery, whose name was inadvertently included with an evidence envelope mistakenly delivered to the funeral home with the teen’s body — and this new information is not good for the patrolman in question, as his social media comments show strong racial biases and right-wing leanings. In addition, a photograph posted by the Post-Dispatch shows Flanery was present at the August 11 incident at a Ferguson McDonald’s that has resulted in $40 million lawsuit for civil rights violations.
According to the victim’s lawyer, Flanery’s social media posts show a “strong negatively biased view of African-Americans.” As with any who share his viewpoints about black people, Flanery is highly critical of the President, who he calls “Nobama.” In addition, the officer has said that the First Lady “looks drunk, high, and dumb as hell.” Flanery repeatedly complains about liberals and homosexuality, too.
The family’s lawyer noted that “right-wing conservatives” traditionally have not been “the friendliest” to people like Myers. He says that the officer’s photos on Instagram, which show Flanery’s extensive military, SWAT, and police training, cast doubt on the almost unbelievable claim that the teen was able to fire three times before the officer could respond.
The officer’s attorney, who refused to confirm Flanery’s identity, says that the officer’s political views do not “change any of the facts that happened. Whether he’s a liberal or a conservative or a Whig or a Tea Party member, it doesn’t change what happened that evening. And that is: Myers had a gun and he used it and he tried to murder this policeman.”
Police claim gunpowder residue on Myers proves he was holding a gun that they say was found near his lifeless body, but the legitimacy of the claims are call into question by the officer’s strong right-wing views and racial hatred, the constantly changing police narrative that includes “facts” easily disproven by the shop at which the teen bought his sandwich’s security feed, and a number of suspicious circumstances — like the conflict between law enforcement assertions that Myers faced Flanery the entire time versus an autopsy that shows he was shot six times in the back.
Myers was shot eight times total — six times in the back of his legs, once in his femur, and a killing blow to 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.”
The security company for which Flanery was working also has an established history of brutality committed by off-duty officers working for it. The company has paid out potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle lawsuits involving its off-duty cops.