Large avatar earlmurray

Earl Murray,
Dellwood, Missouri
June 12, 2000

Agencies: St. Louis County Police Department Missouri

Last updated: 11 months ago

Overview Help icon

Back in 2000, two unarmed young men were shot and killed in a Jack in the Box parking lot in the suburban town of Berkeley adjacent to Ferguson by a pair of officers assigned to a county-wide drug task force where Jackson was deputy commander.

Early reports suggested that a vehicle occupied by Earl Murray and Ronald Beasley moved toward Officers Robert Piekutowski and Keith Kierzkowski, causing them to fear being pinned against another car.

Jackson, then a lieutenant with the St. Louis County Police, told reporters, “I am convinced that the officers were in fear of their lives, that they were in immediate danger.”

Jackson contended that the officers were standing in the driver’s path of flight.

“That's where he was going to escape,” Jackson said. “It was obvious to everyone he was going to go right through them. What they [the officers] said was that it lurched forward. In that instant, they thought, ‘This is it.’”

During the ensuing protests, Sharpton spoke of blocking a major highway, U.S. 40.  Local leaders then protested his planned protest and traffic flowed uninterrupted as he went home to New York.

Subsequently, investigators decided that the car occupied by the two men had not in fact begun to move in their direction when the fatal shots were fired. The officers insisted they were in fear for their lives nonetheless, essentially arguing that the car was itself a deadly weapon pointed their way. That was enough for the shooting to be ruled justified under Missouri state law. The cops were not indicted.

Legal Action Help icon

October 2001 Officers cleared