Clip shows teen drawing gun at Ferguson protests

In this 13-second clip, police say the man indicated by the arrow is Tyrone Harris, who has been accused of firing on the police.
In this 13-second clip, police say the man indicated by the arrow is Tyrone Harris, who has been accused of firing on the police.PHOTO: REUTERS

FERGUSON (Missouri) • Police have released a video said to show a suspect accused of firing on police drawing a pistol from his waistband during protests in strife-torn Ferguson, Missouri.

The incident occurred on Sunday in the St Louis suburb, where there were largely peaceful demonstrations marking the one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer.

Tyrone Harris, 18, shot by police on Sunday and in critical condition, has been charged with four counts of assault on law enforcement, five counts of armed criminal action, and one of shooting at a vehicle.

Bond for Harris, who is black, was set at US$250,000 (S$353,000).

The 13-second video taken from a surveillance camera at an insurance agency, released on Tuesday, shows a group of people milling about during Sunday night's protests . Shots were fired and a young man could be seen brandishing what looked like a pistol.

St Louis County Police said: "The video shows Harris grabbing a handgun out of his waistband once shots are fired during the protest in the West Florissant corridor."

But Harris' father said his son did not have a gun. "He was running for his... life because someone was shooting at him," Mr Tyrone Harris Sr said, before the video was released.

According to St Louis city court records, the younger Harris was free on bail awaiting trial on charges of stealing a motor vehicle, theft of a firearm and resisting arrest.

A state of emergency was declared on Monday for the Ferguson area where protesters have been marching and staging acts of civil disobedience to mark the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, 18.

Adding to the tension, four white men carrying military-style rifles and side arms, who said they were members of "Oath Keepers", appeared to patrol Ferguson's streets.

The group said it is an association of current and former US soldiers and police who aim to protect the US Constitution. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights organisation, said they are a "fiercely anti-government, militaristic group".


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2015, with the headline 'Clip shows teen drawing gun at Ferguson protests'. Print Edition | Subscribe