For those who might wonder why a Black honor student would carry a gun, Carlos Ball eloquently explained the dual realities that exist for many Black men and women in this country while speaking with the local CBS affiliate in St. Louis, “The way St. Louis streets work, we’re afraid out here. We’re afraid of the police. We’re afraid of other youth who may want to pull a gun and fire on you. So, sometimes people have guns just to protect themselves, [but] not with the intentions to do a criminal act with it.”
Tragically, now Ball has a more personal anecdote to this rationale: His brother, 25-year-old Cary Ball Jr. (pictured far left), was shot and killed by police on April 24th near the Edward Jones Dome.
Despite Ball Jr. placing his gun on the ground, police shot him 25 times.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says the three officers involved in the shooting are suspended pending an investigation:
“We’ve invited the family and the witnesses to provide statements to us,” Dotson said, “Some of them have. Some of them haven’t. I encourage anybody who has information, we’re certainly looking into the matter.”
Police report Ball had crashed his car after a high-speed chase, ran away on foot, and then pointed a gun at officers and ignored them when they ordered him to drop his weapon.
Dotson says they have found no surveillance video from the area that shows what happened. The officers were put on administrative leave pending further investigation.
Wednesday marked the second protest at police headquarters.
Organizer Zaki Baruti says:
“We are making every effort to, first, inform the public as well as mobilize the public to put an end to this kind of police violence. The police ought to be protecting and serving the community but we do have almost like vigilante kinds of officers on the force that need to be removed immediately.”
Of that shooting, Carlos Ball said, “They looked at the gun on the ground and fired. He never fired. They never fired, until the gun was nowhere near him.” Baruti noted, “There are several credible witnesses not knowing each other who observed what had taken place.”
There will be more demonstrations next week.
At the time of his death, Ball was reportedly a Human Services major at Forest Park Community College. The campus newspaper, The Scene, reported Ball said he had a 3.86 grade point average and in the past was honored as an “emerging scholar.” He did, however, spend five-and-a-half years in prison – “three years for armed robbery when he was 17, and another two-and-a-half years for a probation violation involving a misdemeanor.”
Regardless of his history, if a man places his gun on the ground, why are police shooting him? And not just firing a single shot, but 25?
Not surprisingly, the St. Louis police department has its own history of abuse (via Think Progress):
In February, a city cop was accused of choking a man in a wheelchair, who was then arrested immediately after testifying at the officer’s disciplinary hearing. A video showing a cop beating and pepper-spraying a man went viral in 2011, revealing that the cop had stayed on the force despite multiple lawsuits alleging brutality.
WPOX went on to also reveal that the firm representing the Ball family in a pending suit is “involved in pending litigation against the city, claiming jail guards encouraged inmates to fight each other ‘gladiator style’ for the guard’s amusement.”
And other cases involving Black males being cut down in their prime continue to rage on across the country.
It was only two weeks ago that the trailer of “Fruitvale Station” premiered. The movie chronicles the death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was senselessly shot to death on New Year’s Day 2009 by a BART station police officer.
Watch the “Fruitvale Station” trailer here:
And just this week, the trial date was set for Trayvon Martin, who died at the hands of alleged vigilante George Zimmerman.
As angry as I get reading about these kind of stories, it frustrates me even more to know that some people still don’t understand the plight of Black people at the hands of the corrupted who have power and possession of firearms.
On the local news site where I learned of this story, the sole commenter on the article wrote:
So a thug with a criminal record and an illegal gun gets shot and “the usual suspects” hold multiple rallies, all during normal working hours. Good thing none of these folks have jobs to get in the way of their protesting. Maybe they should have spent a bit more time mentoring the deceased about turning his life around instead of packing guns and getting into confrontations with the police.
This is the sort of blind hatred and ignorance that leads to these unjust killings, and until it dies, I worry about how many more of us will be lost in the meantime.