The teen critically wounded by cops during a weekend protest marking the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death was a friend of Brown’s, the shot man’s dad said. Tyrone Harris said his son, Tyrone Harris Jr., 18 — who was shot by cops Sunday night in Ferguson after allegedly opening fire on them — graduated from Normandy High School with Brown.
The pair “were real close,” the dad said. Harris Jr. was shot by police after he fired at them with a stolen handgun, cops said. But the elder Harris insisted his son didn’t shoot at cops and was actually approaching officers looking for assistance. “My son was running to the police to ask for help and he was shot,” Harris Sr. said, calling accusations his child shot at cops “a bunch of lies.”
“They’re making my son look like a criminal.” Meanwhile, dozens of people were arrested Monday afternoon while staging a civil-disobedience protest outside the St. Louis federal court in remembrance of Brown. Noted African American author and Princeton professor Cornel West was among those arrested.
“The people, united, will never be defeated!” demonstrators chanted as they blocked entrances to the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse.
It’s been a year and one day since Brown was killed by a white police officer Darren Wilson in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
A grand jury and federal authorities both declined to prosecute Wilson, and Brown’s slaying fueled the “Black Lives Matter” protest movement.
There was a large police presence in Ferguson at the protest Sunday night, marking the anniversary.
St. Louis County police said the man they shot had been followed by officers because they feared he might be armed, Chief Jon Belmar said early Monday.
There was “an exchange of gunfire between two groups” at 11:15 p.m. Sunday, according to Belmar.
The police official was careful to draw a line between gunmen and the peaceful protesters.
“There is a small group of people out there who are intent on making sure we don’t have peace that prevails,” Belmar said.
“That’s just the bottom line on this and that’s just unfortunate … We can’t afford to have this kind of violence.”
Cops said the person who was shot fired on officers first, while Harris insisted his kid wasn’t armed and was just trying to run away from the scene.
Harris told KMOV that his child was “running away from the situation, and police ended up shooting him.”
He said his son was in “the wrong place at the wrong time.”
An NAACP official said he was confident there wouldn’t be a spike in violence Monday night, in reaction to this shooting.
Still, NAACP board member John Gaskin III said members of the community are not willing to automatically accept the police version of events, noting “there’s still a tremendous level of distrust between law enforcement and the community.”
Also in Ferguson, a 17-year-old man and a 19-year-old man were shot in a drive-by early Monday just blocks away from the protest, police said.
Both victims were expected to survive.
Three St. Louis County police officers were hurt late Sunday and early Monday, authorities said.
Two of the cops were pepper sprayed by protesters while the third was hit in the head by a thrown rock, officials said.