The mayor of Berkeley, Missouri, who is black, has defended the police officer who shot a black teen Tuesday in another case that has already caused fresh protests and riots.
Mayor Theodore Hoskins said that the fatal shooting of Antonio Martin cannot be compared to the Michael Brown case, nor the Eric Garner case because there is undeniable video proof that the teen pulled a gun on cops and pointed it at them.
“This is not a policeman in the city of Berkeley, half-cocked, going out — and as we say, black lives matter. This was not the case,” Hoskins said during a press conference. “You couldn’t even compare this with Ferguson or the Garner case in New York.”
“Our goal is to project the truth to the residents,” he added. “Because the first thing occurred last night was — and when I got there we’re all saying the same thing: ‘Here’s a white policeman killing a black young man. So when does it stop?’ And I can assure you that did not happen last night.”
“We had a policeman responding to a call, protecting the residents of the city of Berkeley,” he said, also noting that black people make up a majority of his town, its government and its police force. Hoskins noted that Berkley has both a black Mayor and a Black police chief.
“It’s difficult,” Hoskins said of the impact of taking a life. “So we need to all put our arms around the police officer.”
The Mayor also praised police for responding accordingly to rioters and looters who seized on the chaos to attack the nearby QuickTrip shop.
Berkeley, MO mayor says if not for the quick response of police, QT would not be standing. pic.twitter.com/x44Z3zJm2i
— Chris Hayes (@ChrisHayesTV) December 24, 2014
Hoskins also dealt swiftly with a heckler at the press conference who stood up and screamed “This has to stop!… We’re going to tear this damn place up until we get justice!… Police now have a license to kill a black man. By not indicting the police it gives these police a license to kill young black men.”
Hoskins responded by stating “Truly, you don’t believe every black man killed is because of a white police officer,” and pledging that the city is “going to have a complete investigation.”
"This has to stop." Anger as the mayor of Berkeley takes questions following the fatal shooting of a teenager. http://t.co/ZOLs0bpsk0
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 24, 2014
The heckler, later identified as Jason Keith Coleman, a black Baptist minister also shouted at Hoskins “Call it what it is – a police officer has killed another black man and this has got to stop.”
“Everybody don’t die the same,” Hoskins countered. “Some people die because they initiate it, and at this point, our review suggests police did not initiate it.”
Some protesters asked why the officer couldn’t use pepper spray or a taser gun, prompting St Louis police chief Jon Belmar to answer “Frankly, that’s unreasonable.”
“When we had somebody pointing a gun at a police officer, there’s not a lot of time.” Belmar added, stating “This individual could have complied with the officer. It didn’t have to end with him approaching him with his arm extended and an 9mm pistol in his hand.”
Belmar also revealed that the officer who fired the shots was wearing a body camera, but that it was not turned on. The reason given was that the officer was not familiar with the technology yet.
Martin is known to have had previous run ins with police and has a record of three assault charges since he turned 17, as well as fire-arms offenses.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.