A chilling cell-phone video uploaded to YouTube appears to have captured the exact moment 25-year-old man Kajieme Powell was shot and killed by officers in north St. Louis on Tuesday, which KSDK reports happened just three and a half miles from the site of Ferguson teenager Mike Brown’s death.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Sam Dotson informed reporters that officers arrived at the area of Riverview Boulevard and McLaran Avenue, responding to reports that Powell had stolen two energy drinks from a local convenience store as well as a package of pastries. The store owner contacted authorities after Powell refused to pay. Several witnesses then observed Powell acting strangely on the street, brandishing a knife and muttering to himself.
The situation then escalated extremely quickly as officers arrived on the scene; Powell shouts, “Shoot me now, kill me now” before the police exit their vehicle. In the video that was released by police, Powell does appear to brandish an object which police say was a steak knife. The cops repeatedly tell Powell to “drop the knife” as he steps onto an elevated parking lot a short distance from the officers. Between the two officers, at least nine distinct gunshots can be heard – including two as he rolls over on the ground next to the patrol car.
Powell stumbles and collapses. “Oh, here we go again,” says the man recording. “They just killed this man. He’s dead.” Later, he suggests that Powell could have been tazed instead of shot. Dotson told the media that Powell’s jacket could have prevented a successful taser shot and defended the officers’ actions in statements to the press and on Twitter.
Here is footage of Dotson’s statement as posted by a Facebook user: