St. Louis- On Tuesday, while tensions continued to simmer in Ferguson, just a few miles away 25-year-old Kajieme Powell was gunned down by St. Louis cops.
Officers claimed that they were in fear of their lives as Powell charged at them with a knife. They claim he had the knife in an “overhand grip” and came within three feet of the officers, at which time they opened fire, killing Powell.
The incident stemmed from a call by a Six Star Market owner after Powell allegedly stole two energy drinks, according to KSDK.
Reports from witnesses claim that Powell was acting erratically, pacing back and forth on the street and talking to himself, while carrying a knife.
St. Louis Metro Police Chief Sam Dotson responding to a question of whether the shooting was justified said his officers “have a right to go home at night” going on to say that all officers have a right to defend themselves.
He went on to defend his officers actions saying that they used deadly force due to the suspect with a knife coming within three of four feet of the officers, which would be considered within lethal range.
New cell phone video has emerged that calls into question officer’s version of events, and Dotson’s defense of his officers, leading up to the shooting.
In the video two cops arrive together, exit the vehicle, and demand Powell drop the knife. Powell begins yelling “shoot me, shoot me, shoot me now,” as walks onto a ledge then steps off as if to approach.
Powell, who had his hands at his sides, never came within more than 10-15 feet of the officers before they opened fire killing him.
As the man recording the incident stated,
“They could have tazed that man.”
Surely the officers could have utilized non-lethal force in this situation.
It seems that these officers, and Police Chief Dotson, think they are the only ones that “have a right to go home at night.”
The police turned a call about two stolen energy drinks into a murder, of course they will say it was justified, so they could go home at night… sadly, Kajieme Powell will never be able to go home again.
It’s this us or them mentality that has created the conditions we see in Ferguson and around the country, as the warrior cop has no sense how to diffuse a situation, but rather only how to use force and brutality on those they are sworn to protect and serve.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis and on Facebook at Sir Metropolis.