Does new video prove Ferguson shooting victim was armed?

After shooting a young man during Sunday’s protests, Ferguson police released a video to refute claims that he was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters
A woman kneels to pray in front of the Ferguson Police Department before another night of demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., Tuesday. St. Louis County Police released a video on Tuesday that they said shows a suspect, who has been accused of firing on police, drawing a pistol from his pants during protests in strife-torn Ferguson, Mo.

After police shot a young man who has been accused of firing at police during protests in Ferguson, Mo., on Sunday, the St. Louis County Police released a video Tuesday to demonstrate that the suspect was armed.
Officers say Tyrone Harris, an 18-year old black man, had pulled out a pistol during the demonstrations before police shot him. He is now in critical condition.

Prosecutors charged Mr. Harris with four counts of assault on law enforcement, five counts of armed criminal action, and one count of shooting at a vehicle. His bail was set at $250,000.

Sunday night’s protests marked the one-year anniversary of a white police officer’s fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, also 18. Since his death, several peaceful demonstrations in Ferguson have been disrupted by violence. 

The 13-second video captured by a surveillance camera at an insurance agency shows a crowd of people walking around the area. At one point, shots are fired and a young man is seen with what seems to be a pistol.

"The video shows Harris grab a handgun out of his waistband once shots are fired during the protest in the West Florissant corridor," St. Louis County Police said. 

Harris's father has said his son did not have a gun. Before police released the video, Tyrone Harris Sr. said, "He was running for his ... life because someone was shooting at him.”

His son was free on bail awaiting trial on charges of stealing a motor vehicle, theft of a firearm, and resisting arrest, according to St. Louis city court records.

Before Sunday’s incident, residents had started to point to positive changes within the community and better police conduct.

“After years of racial inequality in the city, perpetuated by institutions including the municipal court and police force, Ferguson installed a new interim police chief and a new interim city manager,” writes The Christian Science Monitor’s Henry Gass.

Yet things took a violent turn Sunday night. In addition to one drive-by-shooting, a number of demonstrators had thrown rocks and iced bottles of water at police. 

On Monday, officials declared a state of emergency in the Ferguson area, which was still in effect on Tuesday. About 150 people were arrested during demonstrations Monday and early Tuesday morning. Protests continued Tuesday night, but no arrests were made.

“Ferguson now is largely the same as it was a year ago,” Brendan Roediger, a professor at the St. Louis University School of Law, told the Monitor. “The difference is now people are fighting.”

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.