WARNING: This video contains graphic images and language
St. Louis, MO — Following a fatal officer-involved shooting of their own, St. Louis police are taking a much different approach than officers in Ferguson did just ten days ago.
Chief Dotson released cell phone video Wednesday that showed police shooting the 25-year-old Kajieme Powell.
According to Chief Dotson, Powell stole two energy drinks from the Six Stars Market in the 8700 block of Riverview. Dotson said after the suspect walked out of the store with the drinks, he went back inside the store and grabbed a pastry. Dotson said the store owner followed the suspect out of the store and police were dispatched to the area.
According to police, the suspect pulled out a knife and was acting erratically when officers arrived. Dotson told reporters the suspect told responding officers to “shoot me now, kill me now.” Dotson said officers asked the suspect to drop the knife, which he was holding in an overhead grip, and the suspect refused to do.
The witness who shot the video took it to a lawyer who then took it to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Along with the cell phone video, police also made surveillance video from inside a nearby store, as well as 911 calls, available to the media.
Video shows Powell pacing back and forth on Riverview Boulevard around 12:20 Tuesday afternoon. Once police pull up, the man yells “shoot me! Shoot me!” Powell is heard saying.
Powell then steps onto a retaining wall, turned his back toward an officer and both open fire. News 4 counted at least nine gunshots on the video. Powell falls off the wall and onto a sidewalk, where he died.
“These officers felt they were in a lethal situation, that their lives were in jeopardy and I think we have to remember that these officers have a right at the end of the day to go home,” Chief Dotson said. “They have a right to protect themselves.”
The video was taken from a distance and viewers of the video can’t see what the man is holding. Police said he had a steak knife.
Dotson said all of these images were made public Wednesday because he promised a crowd that gathered at the shooting scene transparency and explanations, with many asking why officers didn’t use a taser.
“The way that tasers operate; there are two probes that are fired. Both probes have to make contact with the individual and their skin in order for them to work,” Dotson said. “This individual had a jacket on. I’m not saying tasers are not an option, what I’m saying is tasers are not 100 percent.”
A witnesses to this shooting was alderwoman Dionne flowers, who released a statement saying that she agrees with what the police have released.
Powell recently moved to St. Louis to live with his grandmother. Police say they’ve been in contact with her.
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