Louisville, KY — Graphic body camera footage was released this week from the body cameras of two Louisville Metro Police Department officers showing the killing of 44-year-old Jessie Stringfield.
Only seconds after arriving on the scene, officer Michael Johnson of LMPD’s First Division told Stringfield he was going to shoot him. Seconds after that, Johnson made good on his promise.
According to Lt. Ted Eidem of LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit, an officer with the Heritage Creek Police Department was working off duty at the Dosker Manor housing complex at the 400 block of East Muhammad Ali Boulevard. While there, that officer spoke with security employees who said they had been having trouble with a man who had been threatening residents, saying he had a gun and using racial epithets, as reported by WDRB.
Police say that man was identified as Stringfield, who had an outstanding bench warrant.
As the video shows, Johnson arrives on the scene as another officer with the University of Louisville police department was getting out of his SUV.
“Freeze mother-f**ker!” Johnson shouts. “Get on the ground! Motherf**ker! Get on the ground right now!”
“Why?” Stringfield asks.
“Because I’m gonna shoot your f**king ass if you don’t!” Johnson yells.
The University of Louisville officer then moves in to put Stringfield into custody and a struggle ensues. Stringfield appears to have his hands above his head before reaching back toward his hoodie pockets.
As the UL officer struggles with Stringfield, he is in the direct line of fire from Johnson’s pistol. At this point, Johnson fires a single round, right in the direction of the UL officer, but striking Stringfield in the abdomen.
Stringfield immediately collapses to the ground and a gun appears about 10 feet from his body, indicating that he was likely pulling out the gun and threw or dropped it as he was killed.
The UL officer was so close to the exploding round that it appeared to have hurt or shocked him. Johnson asks the UL officer if he was alright and the officer responds that he is but he is in noticeable pain and shock as he holds his extended hand out in front of him.
Anyone who has done a lot of shooting knows that the percussion from a .40 cal round is significant. If that round is pointing in your direction, essentially at point blank, it will like feel like you were holding a firecracker in your hand as it went off. This appears to be what the officer was feeling.
“We have been reminded far too often lately just how dangerous this job of policing is,” LMPD Chief Steve Conrad told reporters on an online feed.
Indeed, it did appear that these officers were in danger. Stringfield was reportedly known for carrying a pistol and it appeared that he tried to pull it out. However, while making a split second decision, the officers never attempted less than lethal force like a taser that could’ve prevented the loss of life.
What’s more is the fact that Johnson’s split second decision nearly killed his fellow officer.
According to the LMPD, Johnson has been temporarily reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation.
“The officers were fortunate with the outcome that they were able to respond quickly with the weapon on them without the two them being hurt,” he said.
It is unclear as to why the department released the body camera footage and not the dash camera footage from the female officer’s car. This would have shown the entire scene from a wide angle. Below are the videos.
While the UL officer escaped unharmed, TFTP has reported on other officers who haven’t been so lucky. Officer Lane Butler had to fight for her life last year in an Indiana hospital because one of her fellow officers pulled his gun on a dog and shot her instead.
According to police, officers were responding to a complaint of criminal mischief on a Tuesday morning in January when the shooting happened. Police were at a woman’s apartment to see if a person wanted on a warrant was inside. Police noted that the woman was cooperative and let officers search her home.
Before the officers entered the home, the woman warned them that her large dog was inside and in a cage. Butler and two other officers, LaFrene Butler and Aaron Wright, then entered the home and began searching it. As they searched the home, however, the dog reportedly escaped from the cage and the officers then fled the residence.
As the officers fled, Wright pulled out his pistol in a futile attempt to defend himself from the dog. Instead of shooting the dog, however, the officer shot Butler in the back as they walked out the door. Butler was wearing a bulletproof vest, but the round went in just above the protected area in her upper back.
After he negligently shot his fellow cop in the back, the department announced that Wright will face no discipline.