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Woman shot at Ferguson protest: Police took the bullet and now claim they don’t have it

Mike Brown’s death at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson was the first shooting death in some time in the suburban St. Louis community of Ferguson. Thanks to sustained protest and outcry from the community and people concerned about civil rights nationwide, the whole world knows Mike Brown's name. But just days after Brown was gunned down by the officer, another person was shot in Ferguson. The circumstances around the shooting are completely bizarre, and raise yet more troubling questions about the police. Also troubling is how little the media is mentioning the name and circumstances of Mya Aaten-White.

On August 12, Mya Aaten-White was walking back to her car after leaving a protest near the now infamous Quik Trip in Ferguson, Missouri. Shots rang out. She remembers a young man telling her she’d been shot in the head. She remembers police on the scene questioning her. She took a photo of herself in the ambulance and posted it to Instagram.

The media immediately reported that it was a drive by shooting. But Aaten-White doesn’t understand why the press is saying that; she doesn’t remember any cars, just the young black men who helped her to safety, and the cops on the scene who questioned her while she lay prone with a bullet in her skull.

Doctors didn’t remove the bullet for a few days, worried that they’d injure her worse. After they operated and dislodged the bullet, police officers showed up at the hospital and took the evidence. Her lawyer has since tried to find out where the bullet went. Neither county nor Ferguson police officers have any idea what bullet they’re talking about.

In other words, the one piece of physical evidence that might tell Aaten-White who shot her seems to have disappeared into thin air. Worse still, she says she’s been waiting for officers to interview her about the shooting, but so far none have materialized.

A young woman was shot in the head leaving a protest. Police took the bullet from the hospital, and have since claimed they don’t have it. Officials don’t seem interested in finding out what happened. All of this in a community that rarely sees shootings. All of this in a community under heavy police occupation, where officers have this week shot journalists in the back with “less than lethal” weapons, and fired copious amounts of tear gas into residential neighborhoods.

All of this in a community in which a police officer shot a young man six times in the street and has since disappeared, protected by the government that pays his salary.

And then there’s this, filmed in the street after Aaten-White's shooting:

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Read more about the mysterious case of Mya Aaten-White.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.