Video of St. Louis Metropolitan Police shooting and killing 25-year-old Kajieme Powell has emerged, rivaling the officers’ account of how the incident occurred on Tuesday.
Powell, if you recall, was shot after police say he lunged at them with a knife. Before the shooting, a convenience store owner called 911 after Powell allegedly stole drinks and donuts from his establishment.
According to Police Chief Sam Dotson’s account:
Two arriving officers ordered Powell to get down, but he became more agitated and walked toward them, reaching for his waistband. Witnesses told police the man was yelling, “Shoot me, kill me now,” during the encounter, Dotson said.
The officers drew their weapons and ordered Powell to stop. He did stop, but then pulled out a knife and came at the officers, gripping and holding it high, Dotson said. They ordered him to stop and drop the knife. When he got within 2 or 3 feet of the officers, they fired, killing Powell.
“This is a lethal range for a knife,” Dotson said.
The disturbing video, however, tells a different story. Powell can be seen approaching officers, but not as close as originally reported. His hands were also at his sides. Police shot him within 15 seconds of arriving on the scene. After the shooting, the two police officers placed the dead man in handcuffs.
The department, no doubt acting in response to nearby Ferguson authorities’ lack of transparency in the wake of Michael Brown’s death, released the video and 911 calls in an effort to remain up front with residents of St. Louis. But even with video evidence undermining the officers’ account, Dotson still defended the two men.
“The officers did what I think you or I would do, they protected their life in that situation,” Dotson said.
You can watch the raw video in its entirety here.
Meanwhile, a St. Louis police officer who drew his weapon and threatened to kill Ferguson protestors has been identified and suspended indefinitely.
The officer, Lt. Ray Albers, is a 20-year police veteran who served four years in the Army. In the video above, you can see Albers with his gun drawn, screaming at protestors that he will “fucking kill” them. A protestor asked Albers his name, but Albers replied, “Go fuck yourself.”
Another officer steps in to defuse the situation, telling Albers to lower his weapon.
St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez told The Huffington Post that Albers is sick to his stomach over the incident.
“It’s frustrating, because we told [our officers] before we went down there that there would be lots of people trying to antagonize to provoke them into saying something,” Jimenez said. “Whether you’re a pedestrian or protesters, you have to be professional, and [Albers’] actions weren’t in any way, shape or form.”
Stress and fear may have contributed to the confrontation, Jimenez said, but didn’t excuse the officer’s behavior. However, the police chief said his department supports Albers’ raising of his weapon at protesters.
“He saw three to four suspects with bandanas on, and saw one of them raise a gun towards him,” Jimenez said. “That made him draw his weapon up to the crowd, and he was scanning and moving that weapon back and forth, trying to assess the scene. … Him seeing the gun in the crowd, he had every right to protect himself in fear of danger until he assessed the scene.”
An investigation is underway. Albers will remain on unpaid suspension and will undergo a psychological evaluation.
SOURCE: HuffPost | VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube