Pregnant woman loses eye from St. Louis County police bean-bag shooting
A pregnant St. Louis woman is now blind in one eye after St. Louis County Police shot a bean-bag round at a vehicle she was riding in as the car drove away from a gas station near Ferguson, Missouri early Tuesday.
The incident occurred amid high tension following a grand jury’s decision not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal August 9 shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson.
Dornella Conners told KMOV that she was riding in a car driven by her boyfriend, De’Angelas Lee. They had stopped at a gas station in the 10000 block of Halls Ferry Rd., just a couple of miles from Ferguson. She said they were driving away from the station when police arrived.
“They pulled up while we were coming towards the street, De’Anglas was trying to get away, they blocked us from the side, front and back,” Conners said.
Conners said Lee then tried to drive around police, yet the St. Louis County Police Department has claimed that Lee drove towards them.
An officer, according to the department, then shot a “non-lethal” bean-bag round at the car, shattering the passenger window, injuring Conners.
Conners said she then sought medical attention with another police officer.
Police, according to KMOV, said Lee drove away. The officers were at the station to address alleged gunshots at the location. Sixteen people in the area were eventually arrested.
“I’m very upset, very disappointed with tactics that they used trying to get control of situation,” said Donnell Conners, Dornella’s father. “I understand tough job, I understand that it was chaos, there was no reason to fire upon innocent person sitting in a vehicle.”
A warrant has been issued for Lee’s arrest, according to police, with bond set at $50,000.
Meanwhile, as ongoing expressions of rage in Ferguson and nationwide continue over racial discrepancies within the American justice system and consistent police brutality, the United Nations Committee against Torture advocated Friday for the United States to investigate and prosecute police aggression and “frequent and recurrent police shootings or fatal pursuits of unarmed black individuals.”
The panel’s request was part of a review of the US record on preventing torture, Reuters reported, the first such report since 2006. The review expressed concern over “numerous reports” of police brutality and use of excessive force against minorities, immigrants, and homosexuals, as well as racial profiling and police militarization.
The UN review condemned “excruciating pain and prolonged suffering”experienced by death row prisoners during “botched executions,” as well as the prison-rape epidemic, the shackling of pregnant female prisoners in some instances, and overuse of solitary confinement.
The committee also excoriated the common use of Tasers against unarmed people allegedly resisting arrest, saying they should only be used in unique situations to prevent death or serious injury.
The panel also decried the lack of investigation into the post-9/11 torture apparatus wielded against so-called terrorism suspects, and the ongoing existence of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, where “a draconian system of secrecy surrounding high-value detainees ... keeps their torture claims out of the public domain.”