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St. Louis police used excessive force when they shot 14-year-old boy in back, lawsuit claims

St. Louis police used excessive force when they shot 14-year-old boy in back, lawsuit claims

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ST. LOUIS — Two St. Louis officers used unreasonable and excessive force when they shot and critically wounded a 14-year-old boy in 2016, according to a lawsuit filed against the city and the officers.

Tyron Edwards filed suit in St. Louis Circuit Court last week, saying Officers Ryan Murphy and Thomas Streckfuss shot Edwards in the back “without just cause or provocation” on Oct. 2, 2016, while searching for a car taken in a carjacking the previous month.

The city counselor’s office and the police department declined comment.

Edwards, now 19, said in his lawsuit that he was waiting for a friend about trading video games when Murphy and Streckfuss stopped their police vehicle, hopped out and, with guns drawn, began chasing Edwards and two others standing near him. The suit said the officers fired at least 11 shots toward Edwards without orders to stop.

After the shooting, then-police Chief Sam Dotson said police shot the boy in the 5000 block of Beacon Avenue after the boy fired a shot at them. Dotson also said witnesses reported hearing the chasing officers identify themselves as police and order the teen to get down. Dotson also said police found the teen’s semiautomatic pistol at the scene.

Edwards’ lawyer, Jerryl Christmas, disputed the department’s version of the incident, saying there is “no dispute” that Edwards was not armed when the officers shot him. Christmas said police claimed to have later recovered a pistol behind a nearby garage but that DNA tests on the weapon weren’t a match to Edwards. Christmas also said juvenile authorities later dropped charges against Edwards.

“He never had a gun,” Christmas said. “He went to the schoolyard to trade video games.”

The shooting was near what was then Walbridge Elementary School.

In addition to clams of assault, Edwards’ lawsuit alleges St. Louis failed to adequately supervise and train its officers.

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