Two St. Louis men are claiming that race caused police not to believe them after an armed robber shot one of them and then falsely told police the men attacked him first, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Even though the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department had access to surveillance video of the incident five days after it took place, they just charged the attacker, Patrick Owens, on Wednesday.
Owens approached Christopher and Jerry Tate at about 3 a.m. on Aug. 26, asking them for a ride in their truck.
Owens then pulled out his gun and demanded their wallets.
When the brothers refused, physical struggle broke out, which resulted in Christopher Tate getting shot in the hand and face. They managed to get the gun from Owens and escape the scene.
Owens reportedly called the police first after the incident, and officers arrived at the scene to find the Tates running down the street, and saw one of them hiding Owens’ gun in a flowerpot before talking to police.
The Tates said they hid the gun so they would not be targeted in the incident.
Jerry Tate was arrested and released the next day with no charges filed, and Christopher Tate was taken to the hospital. Owens was also arrested and released pending charges.
Those charges were finally filed Wednesday, when Owens was charged with attempted robbery, armed criminal action, and second-degree assault, all felonies, and the misdemeanor charge of making a false report.
A lie gets reported
Owens told police that the Tate brothers attacked him, so he pulled out a gun to defend himself.
That story got reported in the local newspaper, allegedly causing some issues for the Tates.
“[My boss] asked me ‘Why did the paper say you robbed someone and that’s how you got shot?’” Christopher said. “He said ‘If it wasn’t true the paper wouldn’t have said it.’”
The Tate brothers said they think the fact that they are black and Owens is white impacted how the case was handled.
“I believe they listened to him because he was white,” Christopher said.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department did not respond to Washington Post inquiries about why it took so long to charge Owens after the video corroborating the Tates’ story was discovered.