St. Louis police claimed they had to shoot a man to death because they were in fear for their lives after he lunged at them with a knife in “an overhand grip.”
But then a cell phone video emerged contradicting that report, potentially causing tensions to run even higher than they already are in the area that’s been mired by protests and riots for more than ten days now after another cop shot another black man to death.
What’s even more interesting is that they were the ones to release the video, which indicates they probably confiscated the man’s phone, but no details on that yet.
The video shows a man pacing back and forth on a sidewalk as another man records and narrates, but of course, not having the sense to turn the phone sideways.
The man is apparently holding a knife but that is not very evident from what I’ve seen, but he also has one hand in his pocket at times.
Two cops pull up in one vehicle, step out of the car and order him to drop the knife. The man steps up on a ledge, then steps off as if to make his way towards them, which is when they shot him several times.
The entire exchange last 15 seconds.
According to the initial report, police claimed the man had lunged at them, coming within three feet of them, so they had to kill him because, after all, they have the expectation to go home at night – which usually means to hell with anybody’s else expectation to go home at night.
Police say the man took items from the Six Star Market, twice. The second time police were called by the store owner, and a city alderwoman who was watching this unfold. A witness says, “The store owner and the alderwoman said the suspect was armed with a knife, acting erratically, pacing back and forth in the street talking to himself.”
When police arrived, they say the man charged the officers with the knife more than once. The second time they opened fire. Witnesses report him saying, “Kill me.”
The fast growing crowd had one question: What happened to the tasers?!
“So if you`re the family of a police officer and someone approaches you within three feet with a knife, I think you have the right to defend yourself and protect yourself. So I think it certainly is reasonable that an officer has an expectation to go home at the end of the night.” said St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.
But the video shows he had his arms at his sides and he was probably about 15 feet from the officers when they fired.
The man, Kajieme Powell, 25, was most likely suffering from mental health issues, judging by his behavior.
And we all know that police are the last ones to call in these situations because they will only escalate the situation.
So perhaps we just need to train ourselves in how to handle these situations in case a friend or family member begins demonstrating erratic behavior.
UPDATE: A news report stating that the man who recorded the video turned it over to his attorney, who in turn, turned it over to police, who then released it to the media.
Family members also said he did not have a history of mental illness.