Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Police Break Traditional Silence, Talk to Public after Officers Shoot 14-Year-Old

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Police Break Traditional Silence, Talk to Public after Officers Shoot 14-Year-Old

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * Only a handful of police officers raking through grass clippings searching for shell casings were at a vacant lot in north St. Louis on Monday morning a stark contrast to the crowded scene there a day earlier, after police shot a 14-year-old whom they say fired first.

About 50 people had gathered there shortly after 9:30 a.m. Sunday, many confronting officers and demanding answers following the police shooting of Tyron Edwards, an eighth-grader at Yeatman- Liddell Middle School.

The crowd that gathered at the scene Sunday seemed skeptical of the police version of events. But at least two uniformed officers talked to members of the crowd, breaking with the traditional protocol of standing silently by as obscenities, insults and other allegations are shouted at them. At one point, an officer tried to escort a colleague away from a combative woman, but the officer told the other officer: "I got this."

Police Chief Sam Dotson also broke from the typical practice of speaking only to reporters when a crowd of about a dozen people gathered and began asking questions.

"There is this idea of a thin blue wall, and I hope they heard a sincere, honest, genuine conversation with someone who is trying to figure out all the facts just like they were," Dotson said Monday.

The experience reminded Dotson of the impromptu press conference turned public forum following the police shooting of Kajieme Powell, just two miles away from and 10 days after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. Dotson said his department hasn't changed its policy when it comes to having officers talk to the public, but that a culture shift has subconsciously occurred within.

"We have realized how people get information from various sources, especially social media, and sometimes those sources are not helpful," Dotson said. "So we realize we need to get them as much information as quickly as we can.

"And good old-fashioned conversation can never be replaced by Twitter. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.