BERKELEY, MO (KTVI)- Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins held a press conference early Wednesday morning in response to the shooting death of 18-year-old Antonio Martin. The armed teenager was shot an killed by a Berkeley police officer Tuesday night at the Mobil gas station in the 6800 block of North Hanley Road.
Surveillance video from the gas station was released close to eight hours following the shooting.
The mayor began the conference assuring those in attendance that this is going to be a thorough investigation. He took a stance that this shooting case doesn’t compare with Ferguson or the Garner case in New York.
“Let me first thank all of the city who responded last night to protect the property,” said Mayor Hoskins who is grateful for the Berkeley police officers who put their lives on the line everyday.
Mayor Hoskins does not believe this is a racially motivated shooting. “We are different from the City of Ferguson.” Hoskins says there is a jump to the conclusion that all policemen are guilty. “And we all know 80-95% of our policemen serve our community well. So jumping to conclusion without investigating is not acceptable. And I have some fine officers.”
The majority of officers in Berkeley are African American and so is the city’s staff. “Our police officers are more sensitive and it’s because of the black and white relationship and because they interact with a majority of black policemen. So you get a better understanding which is why I think we’re different from the city of Ferguson,” said Hoskins. “We don’t have major crime in this city. This is unique.”
The mayor says there are 31 officers in Berkeley. Of those officers, 18 of them are African American. According to Hoskins, it does not appear that the police officer initiated this shooting.
“Everyone doesn’t die the same. ” He says some people die because the police initiate it while some die because they initiate it.
“And at this point our review indicates that the police did not initiate this like Ferguson.”
The conference was held at the Berkeley City Hall located at 8425 Airport Road.