Is He Racist? Attorneys Claim St. Louis Officer Who Fatally Shot Myers in Back Has Racial Bias
The family of 18-year-old VonDerrit Myers Jr. has revealed the identity of the officer who fatally shot Myers up to eight times while his back was turned to the police.
His name is Jason H. Flanery.
Myers’ family released the information on Wednesday after the officer’s name was accidentally included in a collection of materials that were sent to the funeral home that will handle Myers’ burial.
St. Louis officials did not want to release the officer’s name because they feared that it would put his life in danger.
After obtaining the officer’s identity, the family’s attorney Jermaine Wooten wasted no time gathering evidence to suggest the officer was racist.
So far that claim doesn’t go much further than an incredibly offensive tweet about the First Lady of the U.S.
Flanery made no specific mention of Michelle Obama’s race but he did post a tweet saying she looks “drunk, high and dumb as hell.”
Wooten insists that the tweet is enough to prove Flanery has a “biased view of African-Americans” although it isn’t likely that one tweet will hold much weight in court.
In addition to the tweet insulting the first lady, there were also insults aimed at homosexuals on Flanery’s Twitter profile.
Regardless of what the tweets suggest about Flanery’s character, his attorney insists that it doesn’t change anything about the facts of the case.
“The political views of the officer that was involved in this doesn’t change any of the facts that happened,” said Flanery’s lawyer, according to St. Louis Today.
For now, many would argue that the facts of the case aren’t pointing in Flanery’s favor either.
An independent autopsy revealed that Myers was shot up to eight times, including six shots from behind.
Both legal teams claim that the autopsy supports their version of events.
“The evidence shows that the story we’ve been given by the Police Department does not match up,” said Jerryl Christmas, one of the family’s attorneys. “There’s no evidence that there was a gun battle going on.”
Meanwhile, Flanery’s attorney said the autopsy did not contradict the version of events that the police claim to be true.
“It’s absolutely consistent with what the officer told the investigators from early on,” said Brian Milikan. “There were no shots fired when [Myers] was running away. That’s simply not true.”
“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,” Milikan added.
The details of the case only added to the growing frustrations of communities like St. Louis and Ferguson where Black men are being gunned down by police officers.
Flanery was off-duty at the time but was dressed in his police uniform due to a job he took as a private security guard.
It was back in October that the officer spotted Myers and another man before they both started to run.
The off-duty cop pursued the men and eventually ended up in a physical altercation with Myers.
That’s where the details of what really happened remain blurry and uncertain.
Myers allegedly pulled away and started firing at the officer and that’s when authorities claim Flanery returned fire.
A final autopsy report has not been released.
Flanery is currently on administrative leave.