Teen shot by St. Louis police acquitted of assaulting officer

Sunday, September 29, 2002

CLAYTON, Mo. -- A teenager whose shooting by undercover St. Louis officers last year sparked claims of police brutality has been acquitted of charges he shot at officers who wounded him.

A St. Louis Circuit Court jury on Friday cleared Jerome Johnson, 17, of three counts each of first-degree assault on an officer and armed criminal action, apparently believing his testimony that police wrongly accused him of firing at them on April 3, 2001.

Four police officers testified they saw Johnson shoot at them and that a small-caliber pistol found at the scene belonged to Johnson, who was shot several times.

Johnson, who was 16 at the time but was charged as an adult, testified he wasn't armed and never fired a shot. Johnson also said officers beat him so severely he was in a coma for a month -- a claim police deny.

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