St. Louis has really become a bastion of police fuckery lately, hasn’t it?
A few days ago, St. Louis Metropolitan police responded to a 9-11 call regarding a disturbed man who was armed with a knife, had robbed a convenience store, and was pacing back and forth outside, apparently waiting for police to arrive. According to statements made by Chief Sam Dotson, two officers pulled up in an SUV and confronted 25-year-old Kajieme Powell. Powell continued frantically pacing and proceeded to demand the cops kill him, prompting the officers to demand he drop the knife. Powell refused, and apparently got within two to three feet of the police with the knife in an “overhead grip”, and within fifteen seconds of their arrival, the officers fired their weapons and Kajieme Powell was lifeless on the sidewalk.
Pretty strait-forward, right? Well, not exactly. A video recording of the event shows a slightly different sequence of events. Just to let you all know, you are about to watch someone get shot to death. So, viewer discretion advised, and whatnot.
Kajieme Powell was obviously mentally disturbed at the time, and while he was armed and acting in an erratic manner, it doesn’t seem like he was trying to hurt anyone. His words and actions indicate he was trying to commit suicide-by-cop. St. Louis Metropolitan Police granted his request, but what takes this story to the level of fucked up is what happens at the moment of, and in the moments after, Powell’s shooting. Firstly, when Powell dropped to the ground from gunfire, he police continue shooting, putting several more rounds into him while he lay lifeless on the cement. Secondly, police continue pointing at his corpse, armed, despite the fact he is clearly dead. Thirdly, and beyond the realm of fucked, police cuff the corpse and pretend it’s still alive while an ambulance blares in the distance.
What the shit?
So, this whole thing begs the question: was this incident dictated by protocol, and if so, then should protocol be changed? Missouri, like many other red states, has granted significant amounts of freedom and flexibility to its local police forces, as well as militarizing them. It has become a police officer’s first response to shoot a victim they believe to be violent or homicidal-minded. The problem is that the justification for their response is from the officer’s own perspective and is routinely not thoroughly investigated, or in some cases, not even reported. Was it protocol that dictated the statement by Chief Sam Dotson to be inconsistent with actual video evidence of the event? Was it protocol to handcuff a corpse? Was it protocol to give in to this man and allow him to succeed in committing suicide-by-cop? Why couldn’t the officers do something to attempt to restrain him before resulting to deadly force. If they were genuinely worried about their safety, then one of the cops and have continued to point a firearm while the other tried a taser, or something. Right?
But, since Kajieme Powell was armed and had just committed robbery, this incident will not be anywhere near as high-profile as the murder of Michael Brown, and furthermore, the police involved in the incident will probably get off with a metaphorical slap on the wrist. It’s really kind of fucked up, isn’t it?