Spokane, WA — (RT) Police in Spokane, Washington have released footage from an officer’s body camera which shows police fatally shooting a man earlier this year.
Officers Chris Lequire, Ryan Akins and Brandon Lynch were responding to a 911 call from a man threatening suicide. The footage, some of which has been redacted by the police, shows the officers arrive at the scene on State Street and attempt to start a dialogue with the man.
“Hey partner, my name’s Chris why don’t you talk to me?” Lequire calls out to the man, later identified as Michael Kurtz.
Kurtz starts moving towards the officers, holding a knife to his chest and shouting “Kill me!” as police ask him to back up and put the knife down.
One of the officers uses a stun gun as Kurtz slowly advances, but it appears to have little effect. The cops stand back with a police car in between, but when Kurtz slowly moves past the car one of the officers is heard saying, “take it”. Akins and Lynch open fire, striking Kurtz in the left arm and head and fatally wounding him.
The officers attempted to provide medical aid to Kurtz, but he died at the scene.
After the shooting, the body cam footage shows another man having a vocal confrontation with the officers and accusing them of shooting Kurtz “in cold blood.”
— Patrick Erickson KHQ (@patrickerickson) April 29, 2016
Spokane Police later said in a statement that Kurtz was suicidal. The police report also said that bystanders caused a disturbance after the shooting and two people were arrested, one for assaulting a police officer.
The Spokane County Prosecutor ruled the officers were “justified in their use of deadly force” under the circumstances, according to a statement from the office in June, and no criminal charges were brought against them.
Police in the United States have killed over 800 people so far in 2016.