Still No Answers Seven Months After Police Shoot and Kill Stephon Averyhart

Categories: Police

Stephon Averyhart
Seven months have passed since police officers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shot and killed 27-year-old Stephon Averyhart during a wild chase, but the investigation is still ongoing and few details have been released. Now, the mother of the deceased wants to know why it's taking so long -- and why she has never been contacted by police since they called her to identify her son's body.

On February 12, Averyhart was fleeing police before he crashed his car into a telephone poll near the corner of Harney Avenue and Union Boulevard. He then jumped out of the car and ran as officers followed him on foot. Averyhart turned into an alley and then was shot dead by the officers. The officers say Averyhart pointed a gun at them first and a gun was found on the scene. But friends and relatives say he although he kept a gun for self-protection, he wasn't the type to shoot at police; he was just running to evade getting arrested for warrants from unpaid tickets.

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Ferguson Reduces Fines, Adds Police Review Board to "Improve Trust, Transparency"

Ray Downs
Ever since Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed eighteen-year-old Michael Brown, one of the main topics of concern has been the deep rift between police and the community, including the city's court system and policing tactics, which residents say unfairly targets black people and overly impacts low-income people.

Some of that might change with the Ferguson City Council announcing it will make moderate policy changes in an effort to build trust within the community.

The proposed changes, announced Monday night, will include a cap of how much the city can collect for its general city operations, a citizen review board to give the community more oversight of its police department, the abolishing of several court fines, payment plans for outstanding fines and a one-month warrant recall period.

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Protests Continue for Michael Brown in Ferguson and Darren Wilson in O'Fallon

Ray Downs
O'Fallon protesters in support of Darren Wilson.
The large protests and demonstrations that were a result of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown getting shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson have largely quieted down, but this past weekend showed that protests are still going on in the St. Louis area -- for both sides of the controversy.

In Ferguson, Lost Voices, a group of young Ferguson-area protesters who have called for an end to police brutality and vowed to permanently protest until Wilson is charged with a crime, held a sleep-in where supporters camped out all night in a parking lot behind Red's BBQ on West Florissant. Approximately 50 people, including children, participated in the overnight event, sleeping in tents that were donated to the cause.

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St. Louis County Police Hockey Team Publicly Supports Officer Darren Wilson on Facebook

While the St. Louis County Police Department investigates Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed eighteen-year-old Michael Brown in August, members of the department's hockey team are dropping their gloves for the cop at the center of the controversial killing.

The county police hockey team, whose website says it is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, plays around St. Louis and sometimes other states to have fun and raise money for charity. But lately, whoever runs the team's Facebook page has turned it into something of a fan site for Wilson, who was also known to play a little puck back in his high school days.

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Protesters Demand Improved Police Accountability at Downtown Demonstration

Ray Downs
Protesters rally in front of the Thomas Eagleton Courthouse Tuesday.
Approximately 150 protesters rallied in downtown St. Louis Tuesday afternoon to protest police brutality and announce a set of demands they want enacted by officials at the local and national level.

The demands announced by protesters centered largely on police reform and accountability. But they also included several direct demands related to the investigation of the Michael Brown shooting, including the "immediate arrest" of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot the eighteen-year-old August 9.

"We are going to bring that gunman to justice, and I mean that," said rapper Tef Poe, a Riverfront Times contributor and a constant presence at the Ferguson protests since they began the day after the Brown shooting.

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Cop in Ferguson Tweets Lies to Justify Tear-Gassing Protesters in Their Own Back Yard

Danny Wicentowski
One of the many tear-gas canisters fired on Ferguson this month.
A Velda City police officer who has been part of the militarized police apparatus holding down operations on West Florissant Avenue is spreading lies about Ferguson protesters online.

Sergeant Mike Weston, going by the handle "officeranon2" on Twitter, engaged with users of the social-media network about a tear-gas attack by St. Louis County police on protesters in their own back yard on Monday, August 11. In the conversation, a Twitter user wanted to know why police would fire tear gas at people on their own property. Weston tells them it's because protesters were firing guns from their back yard. But that's not true, as evidenced in the video below.

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Ferguson Residents React to Dellwood Market Looting, Militarized Police Presence

Ray Downs
The St. Louis County Police Department.
Just a few hours before the Dellwood Market on Chambers Street in Ferguson was looted Sunday night, Lindsey Johnson was there to buy some groceries. When she saw people rushing in and out of the small store on Chambers Street with stolen goods in their arms, it hurt.

"We know the people who own that store," Johnson told Daily RFT. "We have relationships with them. They're good people."

The ransacking of the grocery store began around midnight, and reports say the place was also set on fire. Gunshots were fired, and a photo of a bullet lodged into the front door was shared on Twitter by KMOV (Channel 4) photographer Adam Randall.

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Nun Threatened with Arrest in Ferguson; Residents Bemoan Police Presence

Ray Downs
Sister Mary is threatened with arrest when asking police for an ambulance.
The unrest in Ferguson is largely being portrayed as a racial clash between the town's African American community and a largely white police force. And it pretty much is. But even a white-haired white lady can afoul of the increasingly militarized police presence in Ferguson.

Yesterday Daily RFT was on hand when an elderly white nun was threatened with arrest for coming too close to a police line.

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Police in Ferguson Fire Tear Gas on Protesters Standing in Their Own Backyard

Ray Downs
Resients angry after getting tear-gassed on own property.
Last night police in riot gear marched down West Florissant Avenue, ordering people to leave the area and firing tear gas onto the streets. Police even fired tear gas into the backyard of a home where several people held their "hands up" in what's become a symbol of protest over the shooting of Michael Brown.

Daily RFT caught the melee on video.

The incident occurred after police had already evacuated nearly everybody on West Florissant Avenue. Between tear gas firings, a police officer bellowed "go home" into a loudspeaker. It took about an hour, but nearly everybody within vicinity of the police left the streets.

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After Night of Looting in Ferguson, Protesters March Looking for Answers

Photos by Mitch Ryals
Davion Lorich asks police officers if they feel bad about what happened.
By 9:30 a.m. Monday, with the smoke and violence of last night's looting and riots gone, a crowd of some 50 demonstrators arrived in front of Ferguson's police and fire departments to continue the protests over the death of Michael Brown.

Meru Muad'Dib of Bellefontaine Neighbors and Camelia Murphy of Pagedale stood directly across from Vincenzo's Restaurant where officers in riot gear waited.

"Those were different people out there last night," Muad'Dib said. "They took advantage of the situation. Don't commit crimes in the name of Mike Brown," he pleaded.

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