It was reported Tuesday that a knife wielding man had aggressively come toward police in an aggressive manner resulting in his death as police were forced to take lethal action. Since that time, shocking new footage of the video has been released where the man was heard shouting “shoot me” moments before officers repeatedly discharged their weapons.
The incident took place a mere four miles away from where Ferguson police shot and killed the now notorious Mike Brown. The deceased has been identified as 25-year-old Kajieme Powell who was known throughout the community and often referred to as “disturbed.”
Police reportedly received a call for shoplifting by a man with a knife where Powell, as described in the video, had walked into a local store, removed two sodas from the shelf and simply walked out of the store. After doing so, the thief placed the cans on the ground in an apparent attempt to wait police.
Once they arrive, officers immediately ordered Powell to remove his hands from his pockets, which he did, brandishing a knife – later soon to be revealed as a steak knife. While rapidly approaching officers, Powell can be heard shouting, “shoot me.”
After ignoring orders by officers to stand down, after one last surge toward police, officers fired off a series of 12 rounds ultimately ending in Powell’s death. During a later press release, Police Chief Sam Dotson explained, “I don’t think any of us can deny that the tension not only in St. Louis but around the county and the world because of the activities in Ferguson over the last 10 or 12 days certainly has led to us making sure that we got this right and answered as many questions as we could as quickly as we can.”
Since the initial account was given, police actions have once again been called into question as major discrepancies came to light upon release of the video. Although they first suggested that Powell was lunging with an “overhand” grip, it was soon noticed that his hands were to his side.
Dotson later acknowledged the difference between police accounts and the truth, but ultimately said that his officers made the right choice. “The officers did what I think you or I would do, they protected their life in that situation,” he noted.
When asked why they didn’t use the less lethal option of a taser, he simply stated, “Certainly a Taser is an option that’s available to the officers, but Tasers aren’t 100 percent. 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.”