If you were on Twitter last night, you might have noticed that #KajiemePowell was trending for a while. Powell is the man who was described as an erratic, knife-wielding man who approached two St. Louis police officers ready to do them harm after stealing two energy drinks and a donut from a convenience store. This all happened a few miles away from where Michael Brown was killed. The officers shot him multiple times and Powell died on the scene. But the video, which was released by officials from the St. Louis Police Department in an effort to be up front, doesn’t quite play out the way it was explained.
In the video, Powell can be seen with his hand in his pocket when officers arrive. As they come out of the car with guns ready, Powell tells the officers “Shoot me! Shoot me now motherf**kers!” As he walks forward, officers tell him to take his hand out of his pocket and then to drop the knife that he pulls out, but keeps to his side. When he doesn’t, officers fire and kill him. I heard at least nine shots, but reports claim there were 12. Either way, it was more than necessary for someone who didn’t seem in the best mental state from the very beginning of the video. As disturbed as he was, there was no trying to calm him, just an order to put his knife down and then a hail of bullets. Witnesses on the scene, who can be heard in the video, say that officers handcuffed Powell as he lay on the ground bleeding out. The shooting occurred less than 20 seconds after police arrived on the scene.
This video had people on Twitter in an uproar last night, many of which were saddened and angry about the treatment of Powell:
“I just saw the KajiemePowell video. I can’t even express my bewilderment. And sadness. They did NOT have to kill him.”
“Why did the officer still have his gun drawn at #KajiemePowell‘s dead body? Was he waiting for any sign of life to shoot him again?”
“15 seconds and they decided he needed to die.”
“That #KajiemePowell video validates the increasingly credible idea that cops are all fear, no training, and more heavily armed than ever.”
The video was graphic, and if you choose to view it, please be aware of that…
And if that wasn’t enough, during tense protests in Ferguson this week, a police officer was caught on video threatening an individual. Lt. Ray Albers is seen pointing an assault rifle at protesters telling them to back up. One in particular was told, “I will f**king kill you! Get back!” When the man videotaping the encounter asked the officer’s name after being shocked by his statements, Albers responded with “Go f**k yourself.” The officer, who came in to help from St. Ann, Missouri, has reportedly been suspended indefinitely for his behavior. While there were reports of urine being thrown at officers this week and people bringing weapons to the peaceful protests, St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez told the Huffington Post that Albers knew better than to behave the way he did:
“It’s frustrating, because we told [our officers] before we went down there that there would be lots of people trying to antagonize to provoke them into saying something. Whether you’re a pedestrian or protesters, you have to be professional, and [Albers’] actions weren’t in any way, shape or form.”
You can watch that disturbing interaction below.