I don’t have time to be as verbose as I usually am and go into great detail, which is probably a godsend to those that read my stuff, but here’s the details on a second shooting of a black man that occurred near Ferguson from The Guardian:
Angry residents of a black neighbourhood in St Louis, not far from Ferguson, accused the police of excessive force after two officers fired several bullets into a 23-year-old man described as carrying a knife and behaving erratically. The man has not yet been named but he was well known in the area and was said to have learning difficulties.
Sam Dotson, the chief of St Louis’s metropolitan police, said the man did not obey orders to drop a knife and was within four feet of the officers when they shot him. The dead man was later named locally as Kajieme Powell.
“As officers arrived, the suspect turned towards the officers and started to walk towards them, clutching his waistband. He then pulled out a knife in what we describe as an overhand grip, and told the officers: ‘Shoot me now, kill me now’.”
Check out this cell phone video of the incident just released today:
Kajieme had a history of mental illness or learning difficulties; it’s not entirely clear, but he was obviously looking for suicide-by-cop. So why was the first instinct to shoot this man? Why did they handcuff a dead man? And does the video align with the police accounts that he had the knife in a overhand grip?
I interviewed Officer Chris Fackey for the Lindenwald Ledger for my journalism class. He was retiring after being with the force since 1979. He recounted this story to me:
He responded to a domestic disturbance call. Terry Lee Rice was attacking his wife, 3-year-old daughter and other family members with a knife. After Fackey arrived, the man charged at him, stabbing the officer in the chest, in the arm pit and the arm. Fackey was wearing his bulletproof vest and that possibly saved his life. He would end up with a sizeable bruise on his chest, but the suspect was then subdued.
Emphasis is mine. I realize these are two different cases over a decade apart, but the police response is striking and I think still informative. Not only did Terry threaten and harm others with the knife, but he actually stabbed Fackey! Three times! And they still subdued him. Even though his situation sounds like a clear case of self-defense.
Seems today they would have blown his head off.