June 2, 2016 St. Louis, MO. - Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce released her findings today in the investigation of the shooting death of Mansur Ball-Bey on August 19, 2015. Her office will not be filing charges against the officers because there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the two officers didn’t shoot in self-defense, as they contend. Prosecutors made their decision after a thorough investigation conducted independently by the Circuit Attorney Office’s (CAO) Officer-Involved Shooting Unit* (OIS) and at the same time as the police probe.
“This is a tragedy in every aspect of the word,” Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce said. “I’m sorry for the pain that the Ball-Bey family is experiencing right now.” Joyce said that she had a conversation with St. Louis Police Commissioner Sam Dotson regarding the events surrounding this incident that she believes need to be addressed. Dotson told her that, as part of the after-action review of deadly force incidents, the department’s review includes assessing tactical training.
The officers and one eyewitness said they saw Ball-Bey with a gun as he ran out of a two-family flat in the Fountain Park neighborhood that was the subject of a police search warrant for guns and drugs. The two officers, who were standing in different locations, fired their guns simultaneously. They said they shot at Ball-Bey because he pointed his gun in the direction of the officer who was standing to Ball-Bey’s right near a garbage dumpster. The gun Ball-Bey had in his possession that day was loaded and the ammunition clip of the gun contained Ball-Bey’s palm print. In addition, prosecutors have secured photos from social media and his cell phone of what appear to be the same gun in the possession of Ball-Bey.
“One of the biggest challenges we face in this case is that there is no independent, credible witness we can put in front of a grand jury or regular jury who contradicts police statements,” said Joyce. “None of the other witnesses had a clear view at the moment when Ball-Bey was shot.”
While these events are highly charged, prosecutors say their decision has to be rooted in Missouri law, removed from the understandable emotions surrounding such a case. Missouri laws pertaining to self-defense apply to these officers, as they would to any citizen. Given all the available facts, witness statements, physical and forensic evidence and for reasons outlined in the detailed report released today, prosecutors have determined a crime could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Joyce ordered an independent investigation into the shooting of Ball-Bey at the same time police were looking into the incident to help expedite the process. This move came in response to public concern over reports that Ball-Bey had sustained a single gunshot wound to the back. Further investigation would
determine the location of the bullet wound was the result of one officer firing at Ball-Bey and hitting him while Ball-Bey appeared to be directed toward another officer. The second officer also shot at Ball-Bey but missed.
“Our goal is always to be as thorough as possible so the public can see that a detailed and fair investigation was conducted,” Joyce said. “The public can rest assured that no stone was left unturned.”
Prosecutors separately interviewed all relevant witnesses, with the notable exception of the two officers. They declined to speak to prosecutors and could not be compelled to speak with the Circuit Attorney’s Office because they were subjects of the investigation. The CAO was, however, granted access to the recorded statements the officers made to police investigators two days after the shooting.
Physical evidence, autopsy reports, fingerprint analysis, and ballistics reports were also part of the investigation, along with a variety of other items and reports.
*The Circuit Attorney Office has changed the name of the team that reviews the officer-involved shootings from the Force Investigative Unit (FIU) to the Officer-Involved Shooting Unit (OIS) to differentiate it from the SLMPD team that reviews these events.