Despite the fact that he was alive for 30 minutes after the shooting, no ambulance was ever called, instead the police left his body lay in the parking lot for over two hours for onlookers to see.
Berkeley, Missouri - Tensions have reignited between police and residents in the St Louis area, after 18-year-old Antonio Martin was shot and killed by a police officer outside of a gas station late Tuesday night.
Just hours into the case there are already a number of conflicting reports, with friends and family members of the victim saying that he was unarmed, and the officer saying that Martin pointed a gun at him.
Witnesses on the scene reported that Martin was running away at the time of the shooting, which would also contradict the officer's version of events. Despite the fact that he was alive for 30 minutes after the shooting, no ambulance was ever called, instead the police left his body lay in the parking lot for over two hours for onlookers to see.
Witnesses posting on twitter under the #AntionioMartin hashtag also say that the gun did not appear at the scene until 3 hours after the shooting occurred, and many of them were very close to the area and paying very close attention.
Hours after the shooting, after the name of victim was already released by the media, the St Louis Police Department released a statement that contradicted what many witnesses at the scene had reported.
The statement read in full:
The St. Louis County Police Department is conducting an investigation into a shooting death involving a Berkeley, Missouri police officer. At approximately 11:15 PM on December 23, 2014, a police officer with the City of Berkeley was conducting a routine business check at the Mobile Gas Station located at 6800 N. Hanley when he observed two male subjects on the side of the building. The Berkeley Police Officer exited his vehicle and approached the subjects when one of the men pulled a handgun and pointed it at the officer. Fearing for his life, the Berkeley Officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him. The second subject fled the scene. The Berkeley Police Department requested the St. Louis County Police Department's Crimes Against Persons Unit to handle the investigation. St. Louis County Police Detectives have recovered the deceased subject's handgun at the scene. At this time, we cannot confirm the identity of the deceased subject. The investigation is on-going and further details will be provided as the investigation proceeds.
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Some witnesses have suggested that an ambulance was never called so it would be easier for them to tamper with the crime scene.
After the shooting occurred, the police set up a wide perimeter around the body with crime scene tape, attempting to get witnesses as far away as possible. Police then tried to obstruct the view of witnesses with their bodies and vehicles. Eventually, witnesses crossed the police tape and began to surround the area.
As protesters moved towards the crime scene they were attacked by police with tasers and pepper spray. Police who arrived to face the protesters were not wearing name-tags and were wearing the body cameras on their hips. Some police officers were even spotted in tactical military gear with M-16's.
Protests went on through the night and into the morning as demonstrators and police continued to pour into the area.
Update: at 7:15 CST the St. Louis Police department released the surveillance footage of the alleged "pointing of a gun." The footage shows Martin raise his hand towards the officer, however, we cannot tell if he has a weapon or not. Also, the video suspiciously ends at this point.
We are also told during the press conference, that the officer who shot Martin, forgot his body cam. It was brought to him mid-shift, but he forgot to clip it on. It is unclear whether or not the dashcam in the officer's car, which would have caught the entire incident on video, was working.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.