ST. LOUIS • The police department said Friday it found no criminal wrongdoing in an officer’s killing of VonDerrit D. Myers Jr. But prosecutors who will review the results of the investigation could still file charges if they disagree.
This was the first case handled under new protocols for reviewing use of deadly force.
Officer Jason Flanery shot the 18-year-old in a confrontation Oct. 8 in the Shaw neighborhood. Flanery was off-duty but in uniform on neighborhood patrol for a private security company. The officer said that Myers ran away from a marked security car, and fired shots at Flanery during a foot chase before the officer fired back.
Chief Sam Dotson recently activated a full-time Force Investigation Unit to examine all police use of deadly force for possible criminal conduct. Part of the process is a mandatory review by Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office.
Previously, prosecutors examined police shootings on a case-by-case basis if the department asked for it.
Joyce issued a statement Friday acknowledging that police “did not request any criminal charges,” but emphasizing that the department’s “findings do not, in any way, dictate the actions to be taken by my office.”
She said prosecutors will conduct their own witness interviews, and will ask for any relevant information from Myers’ family and the public before deciding whether charges are appropriate.
“I ask for continued patience from the community,” she wrote. “A thorough review demands sufficient time to seek the truth and we have no idea how long that will take.” She said that at the conclusion, her office will make a report to explain whatever it decides.
The killing has prompted repeated protests by some who claim it was another example of a white officer killing an unarmed black youth.
But police said they recovered at least three bullets that were fired in Flanery’s direction from a gun found near Myers’ body. Pictures posted on social media showed Myers having posed with what appeared to be the same weapon. An analysis of gunshot residue suggested that he had fired a gun, officials said.
A separate internal affairs investigation will decide whether Flanery violated any police policies.