Lawyer: Race a factor in St. Louis cop being mistakenly shot

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But sources say the off-duty officer was shot by a fellow cop who did not recognize him as an officer, in a separate encounter away from the initial crash. The officers involved have not been identified. Fox reports that the white officer told investigators he fired at his colleague because he "feared for his safety".

A black off-duty police officer was wounded after being shot when he stepped outside of his home to assist in response to a stolen vehicle crashing in his neighborhood, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday.

The on-duty officers had asked the 38-year-old to get on the ground and he complied, but then they recognized him and told him to stand up and walk toward him. A St. Louis officer was struck with "friendly fire" after a wild stolen auto chase ended with members of the force not recognizing him and striking the officer in the arm.

At about 10 p.m. Wednesday evening, St. Louis police received a report that a stolen vehicle had been spotted. A second suspect, who ran a short distance, was taken into custody.

One of the suspects was injured when he was shot in the ankle and two guns were recovered at the scene. A third suspect remains on the loose. The officers backed off but continued to follow the vehicle. O'Toole said at the hospital that the officer was shot in the exchange of gunfire but it was unclear by whom.


A "friendly fire" incident in which an off-duty St. Louis policeman was shot while coming to the aid of fellow officers has taken on racial overtones after an incendiary claim by the injured officer's attorney: The officer was viewed as a threat because he was black.

But a third officer, a 36-year-old white officer allegedly did not comprehend the scene.

The white officer was among those chasing gunmen in a stolen auto when the officer with 11 years of service came out of his home armed with his police-issue gun to help.

No word on why the officer showed up to the scene and immediately pegged his colleague as a suspect, opening fire, but we have a pretty good idea. He and another 17-year-old suspect are jailed. So we have a real problem with that. Young - at the time the son of the department's highest-ranking black officer - was dressed in baggy jeans, an overcoat and a baseball cap, and he was carrying a gun. "There is this perception that a black man is automatically feared", said Tate Jr.

"[The officers] followed the vehicle to the area of West Florissant and Riverview, where they spiked the vehicle".

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