A white police officer shot a black teenager to death at a gas station in the city next door to Ferguson, Missouri, touching off clashes early Wednesday between demonstrators and law enforcement.
The mayor said that video from the confrontation, in the city of Berkeley, appeared to show the teenager pointing a gun at the officer, and police said a handgun was recovered at the scene. Police said the officer feared for his life.
“This was not the same as Ferguson,” Mayor Theodore Hoskins said.
He took pains to say that the shooting could not be compared to the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson or to the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York. The mayor, who is black, pointed out that the Berkeley police department is majority-black.
He promised a thorough investigation but said that the video showed it was not a police officer going off “half-cocked.”
“Everybody don’t die the same,” he told reporters. “Some people die because the policeman initiated. Some people die because they initiated it. And at this point, our review indicates that the police did not initiate this, like Ferguson.”