Jason Flanery, the St. Louis police officer who made headlines last fall for the killing of 18-year-old VonDerrit Myers Jr., resigned Saturday amid suspicions that he drove under the influence, STL Today reports.
Flanery was off-duty and driving his patrol car after dawn Saturday when he crashed into a parked car near his home in St. Louis.
When police officers responded, witnesses on the scene told them that a police car had fled the scene. The patrol car was found at Flanery’s nearby home, and when requested, the officer refused his colleagues’ request to take a Breathalyzer test.
Officers then left to obtain a warrant to draw blood, which they did upon returning to Flanery’s home.
“We handled the investigation just as we would anyone in a drunk-driving accident,” said St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.
Flanery was arrested and booked Saturday on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident.
He was released pending an application for the warrant and results of the toxicology test, according to Susan Rice, spokesperson for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce.
According to St. Louis police procedure, officers are not allowed to drive their patrol car except to and from their shifts, reports STL Today.
It is unclear where Flanery was going or where he had been.
As previously reported by The Root, Flanery, who was 31 years old at the time, shot and killed Myers on Oct. 8, 2014, two months after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown Jr., sparking a fresh wave of protests in the area.
According to police, Flanery, who was off-duty, saw three men, including Myers, standing. When he made a U-turn to question them, they allegedly ran away, with Flanery in swift pursuit. Police alleged that a gun battle ensued, with Myers shooting at Flanery three times before his gun jammed. Flanery was allegedly returning fire when he shot at the teen approximately 17 times. Eight bullets connected, including six in the backs of Myers’ legs, one shattering his femur and the fatal shot entering his right cheek.
An independent autopsy report supported claims that the teen was running away when he was struck down by Flanery’s bullets.
“The evidence shows that the story we’ve been given by the Police Department does not match up,” one of the Myers family’s attorneys, Jerryl Christmas, told AP. “There’s no evidence that there was a gun battle going on.”
Still, Flanery claimed self-defense because, according to reports, Myers was armed and gun residue was found on his hands and shirt and inside the pockets of his jeans.
“Given the fact that Mr. Myers produced a weapon, Missouri laws pertaining to self-defense and an officer’s use of deadly force apply,” read a statement from the prosecutor’s office. “Given all the available facts, witness statements, physical and forensic evidence and for reasons outlined in the detailed report, prosecutors have determined a criminal violation could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
At a protest in May of this year, Syretta Myers, VonDerrit Myers’ mother, spoke out passionately about the pervasiveness of police brutality and the need for systemic changes.
“Cops need to be held accountable for their actions,” Myers said. “As long as they are protected, they’re going to keep killing our kids.”
Though there has been no justice for VonDerrit Myers, taking Flanery—who has now proved himself dangerous in the eyes of society in a way that shooting a black teenager to death clearly did not—off the road and putting him behind bars will, perhaps, save another child’s life.