That Fatal Shooting Of A Black Man By St. Louis Cops Was Caught on Tape. [WARNING: Viewer Discretion Advised]

A newly released cell phone video of the police killing of Kajieme Powell, a 25-year-old black man, provides more details on what happened Tuesday.


St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said that officers received a call about a disturbance on Tuesday. He said Powell went into a convenience store and walked out with two energy drinks, and then returned to the store and walked out with a pastry. This seems consistent with the surveillance video the department released.

But when police arrived on the scene, Dotson described what happened next to a local news outlet KSDK:  

When police arrived, they said Powell walked toward them clutching his waistband. They say he then pulled out a knife and held it up in what Dotson described as an "overhand grip."

The officers, who were still in the patrol vehicle, say Powell yelled, "Shoot me now, kill me now." The police officers yelled at Powell to drop the knife, but Dotson says Powell did not respond to verbal commands. Witnesses say they heard police giving verbal commands to Powell to drop the knife.

When Powell was three to four feet away from officers, Dotson said they proceeded to use deadly force. But the cell phone video appears to show Powell standing further than three to four from them. It also appears that Powell’s hands were at his side at the time he was shot in the chest multiple times by the officers. 

Watching the cell phone video, you can hear the person filming laugh at Powell’s actions. His voice soon becomes nervous and then shocked after police shot Powell within 20 seconds of arriving at the scene. 

Dotson said that cops had the right to use lethal force because a knife within 21 feet—yes, 21 feet—is considered a lethal weapon. He also said that officers, "have the right to go home at night"—as if black civilians don’t.

Asked if non-lethal force, like tasers, could have been used, Dotson said they are not always effective.

Which begs the question: Is killing someone who was carrying a steak knife and who neighbors say suffered from mental illness really an effective way to protect and serve communities? 

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