St Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell and his new Head of the St Louis County Conviction Review Unit, Dana Balzer, held a press conference to discuss an investigation into the recent Galleria Mall shooting in St Louis and then to announce charges against two police officers in a separate investigation who reportedly fired at a suspect after the suspect reportedly tried to run them over.
Neither Bell or Balzer had any idea what they were talking about in regards to the arrests of police officers. Bell appeared to have trouble reading his notes and appeared severely incompetent and perhaps illiterate. It’s no surprise Bell participated in the Michael Brown related riots in St Louis per the Guardian:
The killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by the white police officer Darren Wilson set off protests in the black-majority city over police brutality and long simmering tensions around racial inequality. The unrest transfixed a nation and propelled the Black Lives Matter movement into the political mainstream.
Bell joined the demonstrations demanding justice for Brown.
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The experience was formative for Bell’s political aspirations. In April 2015, he won a seat on the Ferguson city council. Then, last August, he shocked the state’s Democratic political establishment by roundly defeating a seven-term incumbent to become prosecuting attorney for St Louis county.
The protester was now the prosecutor. And Bell had won on a radical platform promising to end mass incarceration, dramatically reform the cash bail system, end the death penalty and decriminalize marijuana possession in the county of just under a million people.
The Velda City police officers were charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. According to local channel KSDK:
Court documents say it all began when the officers saw the car with expired temporary tags. The officers smelled marijuana coming from the car and Gage told the driver that they were going to search the car without probable cause and arrest him if they found marijuana, according to the documents.
The driver then fled along Octavia Avenue. Schanz then “falsely reported over his police radio that the driver had tried to run them over,” according to the documents.
The driver turned around at the end of the block because it was a dead-end street. When he drove back down the streets, the officers were standing out of the roadway in a small parking lot. Schanz then walked out to the center of the roadway and into the path of the vehicle yelling at the driver to stop, according to the documents.
Schanz then fired his handgun multiple times into the vehicle first as he approached the car and then again as he drove past the officers and turned on to West Florissant Avenue, according to the documents.
The media in attendance at today’s presser asked questions about the arrests and the entire event turned into a disaster. FOX 2 News in St Louis filmed the debacle. (At the 5:30 mark in the video the press was provided the opportunity to ask questions):