Huffington Post writers Ryan Grim and Ashley Alman—like their compatriot Ryan “Ear Plugs” Reilly—seem far more intent on ginning up tensions in Missouri than they are merely reporting events on the ground.
On Tuesday, 25-year-old Kajieme Powell took two energy drinks from a St. Louis convenience store and walked out without paying. Moments later, Powell went back into the store, grabbed pastries, and walked back outside. He then threw the items on the ground when confronted by the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper then called police.
Two SLPD officers arrived, and the following took place, as recorded by a witness on his cell phone camera. The witness began filming Powell’s erratic behavior for more than a minute before the police SUV arrived.
As soon as the officers arrive and step out of their vehicle, Powell steps forward, calling “Shoot me!” repeatedly. He produces a knife from somewhere on his body.
You then hear the officers telling Powell the drop the knife. Instead, Powell circles to his left up a small rise into a parking lot. Officers continue to tell Powell, “drop the knife.” The man filming the encounter drops an expletive, apparently understanding just how dangerous the situation has become for everyone involved.
Powell then begins closing down the distance on the officer standing outside the passenger side of the police SUV, walking directly toward the officer.
I’d estimate the distance at not more than 12 feet… almost half the distance of the Tueller Drill, which is what cops and civilians alike have come to understand is the “danger zone” of an attacker with a knife. The Tueller drill notes that a man with a knife can cover roughly 21 feet and be on a man with a holstered gun in 1.5 seconds, which is about as fast a trained shooter can draw and fire a shot. It is likely that the officers allowed Powell to nearly halve this distance because they hand both drawn their weapons, and there were two officers instead of just one of them.
Powell continues his advance towards the closest (passenger side) officer, knife in his right hand, held waist-high. One or both officers fires as he closes to within 8-9 feet and leans in (below).
The officer(s) fire six, deliberate, aimed shots at a steady cadence, and Powell falls to the ground, rolling towards the officers. Three more shots are fired as Powell is on the ground, rolling towards the closest officer. Powell moves both his arms and seems to be attempting to sit up as the nearest officer covers him.
Powell is just three feet away from the officer. After a few seconds, he stops moving. The nearest officer appears to pluck something from the ground—Powell’s knife?—and tosses it several feet away before rolling Powell over to handcuff him.
It is a horrible situation, brought about by Powell’s bizarre behavior and his refusal to drop his weapon as he closed on police officers to an incredibly close range. This forcing an officer to defend himself is often referred to as “suicide by cop.”
The two Huffington Post reporters, Grim and Alman, seem intent on turning the tragedy into another political firestorm by questioning the actions of the officers, asserting some soft of cover-up or conspiracy:
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Tuesday that both of the officers opened fire on Powell when he came within a three or four feet of them holding a knife “in an overhand grip.”
But the newly released cell phone footage undermines the statement, showing Powell approaching the cops, but not coming as close as was reported, with his hands at his side. The officers began shooting within 15 seconds of their arrival, hitting Powell with a barrage of bullets.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released the video and 911 calls, telling St. Louis Public Radio that it plans to act transparently.
The shooting death occurred less than four miles from where Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer in the suburb of Ferguson on Aug. 9.
The Huffington Post agitators take issue with Dotson’s description of Powell holding the knife “in an overhand grip,” and Powell’s distance to the officers. It is undisputed that officers opened fire on Powell at the incredibly closed distance if 8-9 feet, and that he stopped just three feet from the closest officer.
Let’s look at their other point of contention, that they apparently don’t believe Powell was holding the knife in an “overhand grip.”
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