Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kajieme Powell Shooting: Doesn't the St. Louis Police Department have Tasers?

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A video was released today of the shooting of 25-year-old African-American Kajieme Powell by St. Louis police officers which occurred yesterday a few miles from where Michael Brown was killed August 9th:

Last night I posted a blog with my take concerning the shooting of 'Big' Mike Brown, which strikes me as a case of suicide-by-cop by a young man uneasy about his upcoming college challenges.  I believe Officer Darren Wilson was justified in using lethal force when he was (most likely) charged by the 6' 4", 290-pound seemingly irrational youth.  Of course, the better response for Officer Wilson would have been to use a Taser, but I think he was caught off-guard and already had his gun drawn from a struggle that had occurred in the police vehicle.

While Officer Wilson's use of lethal force may have been warranted, what one sees in the video above seems plain wrong.  Kajieme Powell is clearly a mentally disturbed individual seeking to commit suicide-by-cop. He is brandishing what looks like a minimal knife while yelling, "Shoot me!" Why were these officers so willing to fulfill Kajieme's irrational pursuit of death?  

What might be important here is what the dispatcher communicated to the officers sent to the crime which, in this case, was the petty theft of two cans of soda.  


I have to presume information was relayed to alert the officers about the mental health background of Kajieme.  (Although that he was mentally disturbed should have been obvious enough by his seemingly suicidal actions.) Why not prepare to taser him rather than shoot him dead upon arriving at the scene? 
Doesn't the St. Louis police department have Tasers?

Seriously....what we witness in the video above is wrong.  Police officers are supposed to train for and enforce "public safety", not public endangerment.   

I guess I may be a little more sympathetic to the rage of Ferguson protesters now, although I think they are focused on the wrong incident.

Meanwhile, President Obama is playing golf in Martha's Vineyard...


Ima Dreamer said...

Being suicidal and being a willing martyr are two very different things. His actions are extremely deliberate, not erratic. People keep talking about him being clearly mentally unstable, and I have yet to see any proof in media reports (no family or friends stating such, or medical history, or arrest records specifying). This was a sacrifice to illustrate yet again the overreaction of police. He was pacing because he was waiting for the police to arrive and knowing full well that he was about to die. This was a deliberate , orchestrated event, everyone played their roles perfectly. To dismiss Kajieme's actions as being the result of mental illness or a suicidal desire, make his very deliberate choices and message worthless. It's so clear, if you have eyes to see, and ears to hear.

J Adams said...

Well....if you listen to Kaijieme carefully in the video, he was 'on Instagram, so he wasn't going to take it anymore'. That speaks volumes about his mental state IMHO.

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