A Black St. Louis police officer who was shot while off duty by a fellow officer is suing the city, alleging the department has not supported him since the June 2017 incident.
Officer Milton Green filed suit in U.S. District Court in St. Louis two years after he was shot by a colleague outside his home in the city’s North Pointe neighborhood. The shooting occurred while officers were searching for suspects of a stolen vehicle who fled the car and ran near Green’s home.
Green says when officers approached, he identified himself as a policeman but was shot in the arm by Officer Christopher Tanner, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
He is now suing Tanner and the city of St. Louis, as Green believes he would have been treated differently at the time of the shooting and the aftermath if he were white.
In an exclusive interview with Post-Dispatch, Green said of the cop who shot him, “How did he not see my badge in my hand? My gun was pointed down, and the other officers were calm. The detective told them who I was and told them not to shoot.”
According to the lawsuit, Green was working on his neighbor’s car in their shared driveway when he heard a vehicle crash into another car at the nearby intersection. The occupants inside fled the scene and one of the suspects ran next to Green’s house and dropped to the ground when police fired at him. He then pointed his gun at Green and his neighbor — that’s when Green pulled out his department-issued gun and yelled: ‘Police! Drop your gun!” the suit says.
The suspect ran off, and a responding officer told Green to drop his weapon and get to the ground; Green complied. When he informed the officers he was a police officer, a detective told him to stand and approach him. As he did so, the suit alleges that Tanner walked up and shouted for him to drop the weapon while simultaneously shooting Green.
“The racial implications of how Officer Green has been treated cannot be ignored,” the suit states, noting that Green faced a lack of support from the department and his fellow officers after the shooting.
“Had he been shot by the perps everyone would have considered him a hero,” Green’s attorney Javad Khazaeli said. “It happened while he was trying to stop a criminal and now he’s permanently disabled.”
Court documents claim the St. Louis Police Officer’s Association raised $2,000 for Tanner but held no fundraisers for Green.
“If I was white, I feel like I would have been taken care of,” Green told Messenger. “That’s how I feel.”
Green, who has been a police officer since 2005, is now “drowning in bills,” and struggling to support himself and his four children, the report states.
Tanner was placed on administrative leave after the shooting and is reportedly no longer employed by the department.