Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kajieme Powell shooting ( St Louis City ) August 21 , 2014 -- Powell doesn't appear to be threatening either police officer with a weapon at the time of the shooting , distance is different than initially reported , while Powell appears to be mentally disturbed - was use of lethal force the only solution by these two officers ?

We may never really know what happened in the three minutes between when Michael Brown was stopped for jaywalking and when he was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson.
But we do know what happened on Tuesday during the 23 seconds between when St. Louis police arrived and when 25-year-old Kajieme Powell was shot and killed on Riverview Blvd. We know because police released the video. Powell walks around the sidewalk and a small grass embankment. He ignores police warnings to drop his knife. He advances on police at a normal speed, his arms swinging at his sides. And he is shot nine times, including while on the ground.

The footage is horrifying to watch, in part for the speed with which it turns from comic to tragic. It begins with a man chuckling over Powell's erratic — but seemingly harmless — behavior. Seconds later, Powell is dead.
But even with clear video of the entire encounter, there is little agreement as to what happened.
It is notable that the St. Louis police released the video. They did so in the interests of transparency, and because it was, in the words of a police union representative, "exculpatory." And in some ways it is. Powell is acting erratically. He does ignore police warnings to stop and drop his knife. He does advance on them. He does yell, "shoot me!"
But many who have seen the video think it is anything but exculpatory. It raises questions about aspects ofthe story police told in the immediate aftermath of the shooting — Powell does not appear to charge the police with his knife held high, and he is shot when he is farther away than two or three feet, for instance.
It's more than just that, though. The events on the video happen quickly, but they also happen slowly. Powell does not move like a man who poses a threat. There is no evidence that anyone felt threatened before the police arrived. Even when he advances on police, he walks, rather than runs. He swings his arms normally, rather than entering into a fighting stance.

Powell looks sick more than he looks dangerous. But the police draw their weapons as soon as they exit their car. They begin yelling at him to stop. And when they begin shooting, they shoot to kill — even continuing to shoot when Powell is motionless on the ground. There is no warning shot, even. It does not seem like it should be so easy to take a life.
The police arrive and instantly escalate the situation. They don't seem to know how to stop Powell, save for using deadly force. But all Powell had was a steak knife. If the police had been in their car, with the windows rolled up, he could have done little to hurt them. It is impossible not to wonder what would have happened if the police didn't have deadly force on their hips, if all they had were tasers or batons. It is impossible not to wonder what would have happened if the police had simply never shown up at all.

Police release video of Kajieme Powell fatal shooting in St Louis.
Police release video of Kajieme Powell fatal shooting in St Louis. Photograph: YouTube
St Louis police have released video and audio recordings of the shooting on Tuesday of Kajieme Powell, a 25-year-old man described as “behaving erratically” and carrying a knife when officers arrived on the scene.
One video, taken by a witness with a phone camera, shows officers opening fire repeatedly within 15 seconds of arriving at the scene. Twelve shots are fired in rapid succession. The fatal encounter added to tensions between St Louis police and the black community, coming amid continuing protests in the locality of Ferguson after police shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old.
Powell is seen pacing up and down the sidewalk outside a store from which he is alleged to have stolen soft drinks and donuts. Two cans are sitting next to the road as the man paces with his right hand in his sweatshirt. He does not interfere with passersby.

Kajieme Powell pacing up and down before police arrived.
Kajieme Powell pacing up and down before police arrived. Photograph: YouTube

The police car draws up and parks partly on the sidewalk and two officers emerge shouting at Powell to get down. The police say that he was carrying a knife which was recovered at the scene. He can be seen holding an object in the video.
Powell turns away and steps up on to a raised carpark. He then turns to face the officers and takes a step. Both policemen then open fire, shooting repeatedly at the man who falls on to the sidewalk.
The police said the shop owner called the emergency services because he believed that Powell was carrying a weapon.
The video will reinforce concerns raised by witnesses who asked why the police officers did not use Tasers or shoot Powell to wound rather than kill. Sam Dotson, the St Louis police chief, said the officers may not have been able to Taser Powell because of his sweatshirt. In the video the sweatshirt appears to be open.
On Tuesday a witness to the shooting, Doris Davis, said she did not believe the police needed to kill Powell. “I think it was excessive. People said he had a knife but if he had a knife they could have shot him in the foot. Or Tasered him. They didn’t have to kill him,” she said. “I couldn’t believe my eyes, I have seen anything like that. I’ve never seen anyone get shot.”


Some food for thought in regards to and the St. Louis PD. CC: