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The shooting of a Black off-duty police officer in St. Louis on Wednesday evening has sparked a conversation about racial bias within the city’s Metropolitan Police Department, reports the Huffington Post.

According to the outlet, the officer, who has served on the force for 11-years, left his home in plain clothes to assist other officers who were responding to a car theft report in his neighborhood. A statement released by the department says shots were being exchanged between the suspects and officers, and the off-duty cop emerged on the scene with his gun for support, writes the source.

When he arrived, the other officers initially didn’t recognize him and immediately told him to drop to the ground. After recognizing him, one of the officers told him to stand up and that’s when a White officer who had just arrived on the scene shot him in the arm, reports the outlet. The officer that was shot was transported to a local hospital and later released.

While the police department claims that the cop who fired the gun “feared for his safety,” the victim’s lawyer says that the incident is more than a mistake, writes the outlet.

“This is the first time that we are aware, that a black professional, in law enforcement, himself being shot and treated as an ordinary black guy on the street,” said the victim’s lawyer Rufus J. Tate Jr. in a statement, according to the source. “This is a real problem.”

Huffington Post reports that the officer responsible for the shooting and six other police officials are on administrative leave and an investigation has been launched.

This isn’t the first incident of its kind to happen within the past few years. According to NBC 29, in 2005 off-duty police officer Omar J. Edwards was fatally shot by a White officer in Harlem. A year prior, a Black Mount Vernon cop dressed in plain clothes was fatally shot while trying to apprehend a suspect.

SOURCE: Huffington Post, NBC 29

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Black Off-Duty Officer Shot By White Cop In St. Louis  was originally published on newsone.com

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