Don’t Watch This Video Unless You Want to See a Man Shot Dead by St. Louis Police

Seriously. What the headline says. Don’t play this video and then complain to me about the disturbing images.

The cell-phone camera footage is far enough away that you can’t really see the knife that’s allegedly in the victim’s hands, but this sure doesn’t look like the scenario that the St. Louis Police described yesterday about the police shooting of a knife-wielding man just a few miles from Ferguson. None of the witnesses appear particularly threatened by the victim’s behavior, he’s not apparently lunging at the officers, he’s not holding the knife overhand in an aggressive manner, and he’s certainly not three to four feet away—”lethal range for a knife,” as Chief Dotson reported. 

The whole thing unfolds very quickly, not much more than 20 seconds from the time the police arrive to the time a clearly disturbed 25-year-old Kajieme Powell is shot dead. I’m not a law enforcement expert, but it does not appear that the officers made any effort to end the encounter nonlethally.

Indeed, this is the way that law enforcement officers shamefully and routinely dispatch dogs, without pause, apology, remorse, or legal recourse, the safety of the officer, we’re told, taking precedent over the life the animal, whatever the circumstances. Maybe the law allows that. But from this video, it sure does look like Kajieme Powell was shot like a dog.

[via Greg Mitchell]


  1. 1

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    “Kajieme Powell was shot like a dog.”

    This a surprise some how.

    Look, despite progress in civil rights over the past 50 years, racist attitudes have been deliberately enflamed by Republicans since a black man dared to be elected President….. twice by wide margins.

    The racists (who openly & honestly see no differences between a poor man or a black person and a “dog”) believe they’ve got free reign to act on what we all understood to be unacceptable 40 years ago.

    And frankly Puddy, your uppity ass is in their sights.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I notice several things in this video:

    1. When the cops opened fire, they didn’t go BANG, they went BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG. I counted nine shots. Is this what they teach in police academies? What happened to the “double-tap,” i.e. two quick shots in succession? While that’s lethal in many cases, its rationale is to “stop,” not kill. What can possibly be the objective of emptying a high-capacity handgun into a person? And why do nearly all cops in videos of police shootings do it?

    2. It took only a minute or so for additional officers to arrive, and within 5 minutes the scene was crawling with police, yet you never see paramedics arrive. Didn’t they call the paramedics? Why are there no paramedics?

    3. The police didn’t just tape off the scene, they taped off the whole block, and within minutes an army of cops has arrived and most of them are occupied with shooing away witnesses. They seem far more concerned with preventing anyone from seeing (and recording) anything than rendering aid to the man who has just been shot nine times. (Of course, he’s dead, but don’t you do what you can anyway until he’s transported to a hospital and a doctor makes the death determination? You don’t assume drowning victims are dead do you? These cops are acting like they WANT him dead.)

    This video looks too much like a police army waging war against the citizenry such as you’d expect to see in a police state.

  3. 3

    Mirror spews:

    This put me harder over the edge Goldy. Thanks for making it harder. I appreciate your not wasting your forum talking about frickin’ bad apples. When they lie for it, they are saying it is ok, standard operating procedure, and routine, whether it’s St. Louis or Seattle.

  4. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Police authorities admitted tonight this video undermines their original version of what happened, acknowledging that Kajieme Powell didn’t approach the officers with an upraised knife, had his hands at his sides, and was shot from a greater distance than police originally claimed; but continued to insist the shooting was justified, asserting Powell was gripping a knife.

    Asked why the officers didn’t taser Powell, they said that “was an option” but argued “taser isn’t 100% effective” and the officers’ lives were in danger.

    I want to see the knife.

    First, the speculative possibility that tasering Powell might not incapacitate him isn’t a sufficient reason for taking a life, especially as the officers still had the option of resorting to lethal force if nonlethal force proved ineffective. Second, we must ask, what was the threat to the officers? Assuming they wore protective vests, the risk to them was mostly of stab or slash wounds to extremities, which would unlikely be lethal unless Powell had a very large knife. (That’s why I want to see the knife.)

    What we should do here is weigh the relative burdens on the parties. The burden on the officers was tasering might not work and they might suffer an extremity wound with little likelihood of him being able to inflict a mortal wound. There is, of course, a speculative possibility he could go for the neck of face. But most people would instinctively defend against such an attack by blocking it with an arm, and in most cases, such an attack would still produce an extremity wound.

    The burden on Powell was losing his life because officers, despite a high probability of incapacitating Powell with nonlethal force, faced a moderate risk of nonlethal injury and low risk of lethal injury from Powell’s knife.

    Weighing these relative burdens, the shooting was not justified. To argue that it was, the police basically have to say they have authority to kill anyone who poses even minor risk to an officer’s life, even when nonlethal means of defending themselves are readily available to the officers.

    Cops routinely face this level of risk in their daily duties. They should not be allowed to routinely kill citizens who pose little risk to the officers’ lives. Tasers and taser training are specifically intended for these situations. We should expect cops to use these nonlethal alternatives instead of lethal force in low risk level confrontations. That’s what they’re for.

  5. 6

    realist spews:

    You know what gets me is that I guarantee that if anyone is coming at u with a weapon that you have no fucking clue about them your going to defend yourself!! cop or not!! And I’ve always said to myself that if i was in that type of situation..someone’s dying!! So in this case the nut got it..and I love at the beginning of the video its all fuckin fun and games a big fuckin joke to these assholes that CREATE there demise!! saying its funny to steal a fucking soda and a honey bun but when the thief gets popped for it along with coming at them with a weapon its the polices fault talk about racial profiling!!!!

  6. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 “I’ve always said to myself that if i was in that type of situation..someone’s dying!!”

    I know some good defense attorneys who might be able to get you off with 5 years of time served if you ever find yourself in this situation.

  7. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    CNN has new close-up video showing that when the police car pulls up to the curb, Powell is about 20 feet away, right hand in his pocket and no weapon in view, and at that point he backs away to about 30 feet distant. The cops exit the car with guns drawn, Powell pulls out what appears to be a small knife and advances a few steps toward them, hands at side, then waddles sideways and hops up a low concrete retaining wall, and starts walking aggressively but slowly toward the nearest cop. That’s when both cops open fire, the nearest from about 10 feet and the farthest from about 15 to 20 feet. Powell was no threat at all to the more distant cop, but both cops fire (you can argue here the second cop was protecting his buddy). As he only had a small knife, he posed a limited threat to the officers, and probably could have been stopped with a single shot to the body, but the two officers pumped 9 rounds into him. It’s true he was goading them to “kill me,” but cops aren’t supposed to accommodate such wishes if they can avoid it. This looks too much like an execution. The cops probably will get off, but this video leaves the distinct impression that to these white cops a mentally disturbed black man’s life isn’t worth much, and that’s what has the mostly-black community they serve upset — that, and a long history of similar police shootings that unavoidably carry overturns of the lynching era.

  8. 9

    Puddybud - The One The Only spews:

    And frankly Puddy, your uppity ass is in their sights.

    Uppity… from a DUMMOCRETIN… Do tell Flubscout. Puddy viewing some special qualities coming through with you! Seems most DUMMOCRETINS have these special qualities you claim Republicans have!

  9. 11

    realist spews:

    #7 it only takes a small stab wound to penitrate thru the heart or jugular(then bye bye)..if you think they are just suppose to stand there and let that sicko just come at them without doing anything then your a moron..isn’t a knife considered a deadly weapon??DEADLY?? What’s wrong is its people like u that defend this for the criminal and that’s y its continuous on a daily basis..keep defending them and when one of them(that you defended) takes out one of your family members(via knife wound) don’t say shit!!!

  10. 12

    realist spews:

    And its called self defense..last time I checked you don’t get time for defending yourself from sickos that come at you with knife in hand..and if u seen video the police had a mere 30 sec upon arriving before sicko comes at them..lots of time to ponder the situation..get real!!

  11. 13

    realist spews:

    let me ask if sicko successfully made it to one of the officers and stabbed him in the throat and killed him you’d be alright with that?

  12. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11, 12, 13 — Knee-jerk it all you want, he had a small knife, cops wear bulletproof vests, and IT’S THEIR JOB to resolve situations like this without loss of life. That’s why they receive training and are issued body protection, tasers, pepper spray, batons, and a raft of other equipment. Here’s an example of how it’s supposed to be done:

    This guy wasn’t a threat to anyone else. Those cops could have backed off until backup arrived, then isolated the subject, and then disarmed him. Instead they boil out of their squad car with guns drawn and within 15 seconds the guy is dead. That isn’t competent police work, it’s target practice.

  13. 17

    realist spews:

    That’s the way your representing it defense describe it as if the police officer’s already were briefed about what was going to if they made the video already and were doing an reenactment..this fool within 30 sec approached the officer’s twice..TWICE ans he was REPEATEDLY ordered to drop the knife REPEATEDLY!!! and how do you know he wasn’t a threat to anyone else? Wasn’t he armed? you can justify that in that video with only half of the facts shown you don’t know what happened before bn shot.. hadnt he just committed a robbery and if you knew, it was the alderwoman who witnessed it all called 911 and said he was threat!! Id like to see what you’d do in same situation and think that some spray and a baton will stop a psycho in his tracks before he can get to your throat with a do you know he wasn’t methed out?? I’ve seen on video and in person PLENTY of methed out whack jobs and it takes 6-8 cops to get’em under control!! I suppose their supposed to wait for their backup while he continues to advance towards them (with a can knee jerk that all u want..knifes KILL) and just take whatever he dishes out till they get there huh??..MORON!

  14. 18

    realist spews:

    I got it..they were suppose to jump back into their SUV lock the doors and watch him (with a DEADLY weapon in hand) possibly go after one of the like 5 people that were right there watching it. but wait until back-up gets there to stop him…makes total sense now

  15. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @17 Still very long on emotion and very short of analysis. You’re not much of a thinker, are you? And because you’re not, you’re now reduced to basing your argument on what’s not shown in the video.

    @18 Being as you mention car doors, a defensive tactic employed by nearly every cop in America is taking up a position behind patrol car door, which protects the officer from (among other things) small knives. So what does the cop do in this video? He steps out from behind the car door and stands in the open to face a guy advancing on him with a knife. That has “rookie” written all over it.

    I won’t even bother replying to your childish assertion about meth because this guy wasn’t on meth, nor was he a “psycho,” he was mentally ill and police knew that from prior contact with him. Go back to your playpen.

  16. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    For other readers (those with half a brain), let’s review what happened here:

    1. The police pull up and jump out of their squad car with guns drawn and take up shooting positions next to their car. No weapon on the subject is visible at this point.
    2. The mentally ill subject immediately draws a small knife from his pocket and, holding the knife at his side in an underhand grip, taunts the police to kill him, and begins circling toward the officer on the sidewalk, who has stepped away from the protection of the car door.
    3. No one but that officer is in danger; the only other person visible in the video is the convenience store owner, who is standing well back from where the interaction between the subject and officers is occurring, and obviously did not feel himself in any danger from the subject before the police arrived.
    4. The officers order the subject to drop the knife.
    5. The mentally ill subject instead continues taunting the police to kill him, and begins to advance on the officer standing in the open on the sidewalk at a fast-walk pace.
    6. Instead of moving back behind the protection of the car door, the officer opens fire. The other officer, from a safe position in the street behind the car, also opens fire.
    7. Instead of shooting the subject one or two times to stop his advance against the more exposed officer, both officers fire repeatedly, a total of nine times, killing the subject. The subject had taken four steps, about half the distance to the officer, before he fell.
    8. The subject is dead 14 seconds after the officer driving the squad car got out of the squad car, and 10 seconds after the officer on the passenger side got out of the squad car.
    9. From the audio, it’s clear the bystanders watching from half a block away are surprised the police used lethal force, indicating the situation did not appear to them to be one requiring use of lethal force.
    10. The first backup police arrive 85 seconds after the subject goes down.

    While many questions remain to be answered about this incident, several conclusions can be drawn at this point:

    The police arrived primed to use deadly force.

    The police made no attempt to subdue and disarm the subject with non-lethal means.

    The officer who initiated the shooting ignored a basic and common sense safety precaution by failing to utilize the car door for protection and exposing himself by standing in the open.

    There was no immediate imperative to resort to deadly force, as this was not a hostage situation and no bystanders were in peril.

    If the officers had stalled the subject for a minute and a half, such as by trying to talk him down, they would have had assistance from additional officers.

    We can’t definitively conclude this incident would have resolved peacefully, or at least without a death, if it had been handled more competently. However, we know from other police experiences that incidents involving mentally disturbed persons trying to provoke police to kill them can be resolved without injury to the police or subject, and many are.

    This strikes close to home because, in fact, such an incident occurred right next door to me 24 years ago. My next door neighbor was despondent over losing his wife. After moping in his house for several weeks, he got very drunk (he tested over 0.40 at Harborview several hours later), then shot himself in the head with a .38 pistol. Although he suffered serious injury (he lost an eye and had extensive facial reconstruction surgery), he remained conscious, and he himself called 911. The police responded with a SWAT team; my daughter was in the backyard when a fully armed and armored SWAT officer came over the fence and ordered her to go inside. When the police arrived, my neighbor was still armed, and he tried to commit “suicide by cop” by threatening to shoot the police. They didn’t take the bait. It took some time, but he was coaxed into surrendering his weapon, and was then transported under restraints to Harborview, where he received initial treatment for his injuries in the ER, then underwent reconstructive surgery, then stayed in the psychiatric unit for several more weeks before behind allowed to return home. He remarried and committed suicide 20 years later by blowing a hole in his head and the master bedroom ceiling with a gun while his wife was out shopping; she found him that way. She recently moved to assisted living because of dementia (accelerated by PTSD) and the house is now vacant and up for sale.

    Citizens were in no greater danger from Kajieme Powell than my family was from my neighbor. The responding officers were in no greater danger from Powell than were the police who responded to my neighbor, and probably less, because Powell had a knife whereas my neighbor had a gun and had already used it (albeit on himself) and overtly made verbal threats against the police (which Powell did not do, although he moved aggressively toward an officer). The confrontation between my neighbor and the police was resolved without further injury to him or the police; Powell was killed within 15 seconds by the police.

    I know from personal experience close to home that this type of situation doesn’t have to end this way. The shooting of Kajieme Powell may not have been criminal, but it wasn’t competent police work, either.

    And while I’ve tried to avoid dwelling on this aspect of the two incidents, my neighbor was white and Powell was black, and in both cases the police were white. I can’t help but wondering if the officers profiled Powell because of his race, and if his race was a factor in their decision to immediately resort to deadly force; in other words, I wonder if Powell would be dead if he’d been a white man with all the other circumstances exactly identical.

  17. 21

    realist spews:

    you’re just a complete moron your writing paragraphs longer than some books you keep living in a fantasy land from 1980 this isn’t 1980 no more if you want to live that way go back and dig in your archives and watch chips because that’s where you’re at right nowyou keep saying and giving information as if you were right there in the heart of it that he wasn’t posing a threat he wasn’t doing this he didn’t do that I seen the video just like you did! the nutjob was going after them with a knife what part of that don’t you understand what part of that didn’t you seeyou’re just a as much of a nut as this nut was but as I said earlier before I go back to my playpen you just keep defending these fucking assholes until one day they fuck your life up and let’s see you write 9000 fucking words defending them then moron

  18. 23

    Steve spews:

    “your writing paragraphs longer than some books”

    Well, perhaps longer than any book you’ve ever read.

    “9000 fucking words”

    What’s that? How many words you’ll write before we see another punctuation mark out of you?

    “until one day they fuck your life”

    A fucked up life – something I’m quite sure you’re familiar with.

  19. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @23 It’s no use. Some people can’t digest anything that doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker. And some can’t digest even that much.

  20. 26

    realist spews:

    22 23 24
    let me ask you geniuses something have you ever been held up at gunpoint? have you ever been carjacked? by the way it sounds from all you Dr Phils I’m pretty sure its a NO.. let me tell you I have been on both accounts and until you have that shit done to don’t have any clue what it’s like having a fucking nutjob no good motherfucker sticking a gun and shotgun in your face. I’m glad they wasted that motherfucker!! ⬅ look, a punctuation mark..go fuck yourselves and I truly hope you experience it now!! ⬅ oh look more punctuation marks

  21. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @26 Sounds like you could use some PTSD counseling.

    Most people haven’t been carjacked. Being robbed isn’t all that common an experience either. I’ve been burglarized, and assaulted on a sidewalk by a crazy person. I’ve also been shot at in a war.

    We’re not talking here about how YOU subjectively feel about what happened to you, nor about how YOU would react to such suggestions. You’re who you are, and you’re gonna do what you’re gonna do, and police and prosecutors and maybe a jury will sort it out later. (My advice, as a lawyer, is don’t be a hothead. You have a right to defend yourself, as stated above, period. Vengeance is the law’s, not yours.)

    We’re also not talking here about how citizens should resolve a threatening situation. (My advice: Call 911.) We’re talking about how cops trained and equipped to deal with such situations SHOULD deal with such situations.

  22. 28

    Steve spews:

    “you don’t have any clue”

    As though a fucked up in the head, punctuation-challenged nutjob like you ever had a fucking clue.

  23. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Actually, there’s an argument (I’m not saying it’s a good argument) cops can use to justify emptying their guns at subjects: Most can’t hit a barn door and it takes the whole load to get a hit. (You sure as hell don’t want to be a bystander on the same block!)

    And, of course, you can expect cops to blame collateral damage on the unarmed guy they shot at (and missed):

    (These links are about two different incidents; in the first one, the cops killed the armed suspect; in the second one, they completely missed the unarmed subject, and hit only two innocent bystanders. I’m not sure what condition the barn door is in; the article doesn’t say.)

    So, if you’re in New York City, and a cop shoots at you because you’re wandering in the street in a haze or daze, you can expect to be charged for whatever the cop does to the bystanders around you, although you probably don’t have much to worry about yourself.

    Lord help us if the cops ever get machineguns. And surviving suspects — there are likely to be plenty of them — will face genocide charges.

  24. 30

    realist spews:

    I’m not to get into a pissing have your view and i have mine..your a defense lawyer.. I don’t defend them or anything about them period (and quite frankly I don’t understand how you or any defense lawyer can after seeing the shit they do). they know exactly what they are doing, when being a menace, and whatever happens to them, to me, is justified and honored! Because like 99.9% of them they don’t amount to shit (except knowing how to fill out the paperwork to get welfare, food stamps and whatever else they can rape the system for..their knowledgeable when it comes to that) other than to cause harm and anguish to people on a daily basis, that are of class and respect..So my thoughts are to keep eliminating them so they can’t uproot or destroy innocent people’s lives tomorrow, the next day, and every day after that..and that’s not just me referring to this as about “myself” as you includes probably half the country that has had it happen, in some criminal form, to them as well.

  25. 31

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @30 “I’m not to get into a pissing match..”

    You already have.

    “..your a defense lawyer..”

    This illustrates how weak your mind is — problem one, you assume facts; I was never a defense lawyer.

    “quite frankly I don’t understand how you or any defense lawyer can after seeing the shit they do”

    Problem two, you think narrowly, for example you don’t take into consideration that police may have charged the wrong person, or the prosecutor may have overcharged expected to be plea-bargained down, etc.

    “whatever happens to them, to me, is justified and honored”

    Problem three, you want to short-circuit the rule of law and resort to summary remedies, often referred to as lynching.

    “Because like 99.9% of them they don’t amount to shit (except knowing how to fill out the paperwork to get welfare, food stamps and whatever else they can rape the system”

    Problem four, your stereotype people, assuming facts when in fact you know nothing about them.

    “other than to cause harm and anguish to people on a daily basis, that are of class and respect..”

    Problem five, you’re a sanctimonious snob (hint: who brought the economy to its knees, people on food stamps or people “of class and respect”?).

    “..So my thoughts are to keep eliminating them ”

    Problem six, you think like the Nazis.

    “that’s not just me referring to this as about ‘myself’ as you includes probably half the country”

    True enough, there’s more like you where you came from.

    You’re the worst kind of moron and don’t even realize it. P.S., was this you? —

  26. 32

    Steve spews:

    “Problem three, you want to short-circuit the rule of law and resort to summary remedies, often referred to as lynching.”

    He started this by ranting about one black man and has since devolved into ranting about “them”, as in, “99.9% of them they don’t amount to shit (except knowing how to fill out the paperwork to get welfare, food stamps and whatever else they can rape the system for…)”

    If nothing else, he’s at least a candidate to become Puddy’s new BFF.