On Wednesday St. Louis police released the cell phone footage of Kajieme Powell, a 25-year-old African American man, being shot and killed by the police on Tuesday. This shooting death occurred less than four miles away from where the #MikeBrown incident took place. The video that the STL police released actually contradicted their previous statement about what occurred at the scene.
Here’s what happened:
A local convenience store owner alleges that Kajieme stole drinks and donuts from his store which prompted him to call 911. There was also another report that was made by a woman who claims that Powell was behaving erratically (he was mentally disabled) and that he had a knife in his pocket. The video shows Kajieme, after he allegedly stole drinks from the store, pacing back and forth yelling profanities on the sidewalk while the stolen goods sat on the concrete. Within minutes a police SUV drove up to the scene and two officers with guns drawn got out of the car and immediately Kajieme pulled out his knife. The officers told Kajieme to, “put the knife down” multiple times but he didn’t listen. Kajieme began to yell, “Shoot me!” as he headed towards the police with his arms down to his side. Powell was about 4 feet away from the police when both officers fired at him multiple times, killing him.
The video showed that Powell wasn’t as close as what was previously stated and his arms were in fact down at his side. Many people were surprised that lethal force was used when the suspect was only carrying a knife. Many questioned why a taser wasn’t used to subdue him or why so many shots were fired.
The police Chief Sam Dotson made a television appearance on Wednesday and admitted to discrepancies between his statement on Tuesday and what was shown in the video. Here’s what he said:
“The officers did what I think you or I would do, they protected their life in that situation.”
When Dotson was asked why the officers’ used lethal force rather than a non-leathal alternative like a taser he responded with:
Certainly a Taser is an option that’s available to the officers, but Tasers aren’t 100 percent,” Dotson said. “So you’ve got an individual with a knife who’s moving towards you, not listening to any verbal commands, continues, says, ‘shoot me now, kill me now.’ Tasers aren’t 100 percent. if that Taser misses, that [individual] continues on and hurts an officer. In a lethal situation, they used lethal force”
We can’t believe another killing has occurred in St. Louis. After looking at the footage we still believe that a non-leathal weapon should have been used to subdue him, like a taser. In addition to that, Powell was mentally ill. What are your thoughts on this?