St. Louis police released eyewitness video of their fatal shooting of a 25-year-old man who had allegedly stolen donuts and an energy drink from a local convenience store, KMOV-TV reported on Wednesday.
The footage shows two officers shooting and killing Kajieme Powell after responding to two calls from the scene on Tuesday. Less than a minute later, Dotson can be heard yelling, “Shoot me now, kill me now” at the officers and moves toward them before they begin shooting him.
“These officers felt they were in a lethal situation, that their lives were in jeopardy and I think we have to remember that these officers have a right at the end of the day to go home,” Police Chief Sam Dotson was quoted as saying. “They have a right to protect themselves.”
However, the Huffington Post reported that the video undermines earlier statements by Dotson saying Powell was within three or four feet of them while brandishing a knife “in an overhead grip.” Dotson’s arms are pointing downward in the video.
The owner of the convenience store told police that Powell was carrying a knife when he allegedly took the items from the store. Alderwoman Dionne Flowers, who also notified authorities, said Powell was behaving “erratically.”
Dotson released both the video and 911 dispatchers calls regarding the incident in response to growing calls for police transparency following the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, an officer in nearby Ferguson. Brown’s death has spurred nightly protests for more than a week, and frequent confrontations between demonstrators and local authorities.
St. Louis Police Officers Association spokesperson Jeff Roorda told St. Louis Public Radio that he supported the decision.
“It’s exculpatory for one thing,” he was quoted as saying.
Watch KMOV’s report, as aired on Wednesday, below.
The eyewitness footage, as posted online, can be seen below.
[Image: “Policeman with gun,” via Shutterstock]