While most of the mainstream media has been focused entirely on Ferguson, Missouri and the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown this week, CNN’s Jake Tapper traveled a few miles away to St. Louis, where police shot and killed a 25-year-old man named Kajieme Powell, who approached them carrying a knife and shouting “Shoot me!” on Tuesday.
During The Lead yesterday, Tapper retraced Powell’s steps, showing video of himself side by side with cellphone footage shot by a witness and released by police in the name of transparency the day after the shooting occurred. As Tapper pointed out, Powell was not holding the knife high in the air as he approached the cops as was originally reported.
“There are other questions of course about the shooting of that man who neighbors knew to be emotionally distressed,” Tapper said, “including why the officers shot him nine times.” As the Chyron on the screen asked, “Did police use justifiable force in shooting?”
St. Louis police responded to two separate 911 calls about Powell stealing items from a grocery store and brandishing a knife. “The question is, just how far was he from police officers?” Tapper asked after walking through Powell’s movements. “What kind of threat did he pose for them?”
Tapper admitted that he was engaging in some “amateur sleuthing,” but still used a tape measure to estimate that Powell was 16 feet from the officers when they shot him. He said some police officers use 21 feet as the distance at which an assailant with a weapon is too close for comfort.
As for why officers don’t “shoot to wound” instead of kill, a spokesperson for the National Association of Police Organizations told Tapper that officers are trained to shoot at what they are most likely to hit, meaning the torso or head, not the legs.
Watch video below, via CNN:
[Photo via screengrab]
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