Not even two weeks after 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, another man was killed by the cops on Riverview Boulevard in St. Louis.
Riverview is just a few miles north of where Mike Brown was killed.
While the second incident has further infuriated protesters already outraged over a militarized law-enforcement forces, this time around – unlike the mysterious circumstances that led to Brown’s death – they at least know what went down between 25-year-old Kajieme Powell and the police.
Authorities received two separate 911 calls reporting Powell’s erratic behavior after he was suspected of stealing from a nearby convenience store.
When the police arrived, two officers reportedly fired a combined 12 shots at Powell, killing him instantly, after he refused to drop the steak knife he was wielding while moving toward them.
In the interests of transparency – especially amid the unrest that followed Brown’s shooting – the St. Louis Police Department released the 911 calls and a cell phone video on Wednesday showing the confrontation with officers that left Powell dead.
Transparency and openness builds the public's trust in their police department.— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) August 20, 2014
However, despite all efforts to maintain transparency, Powell’s killing remains controversial.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Powell "pulled out a knife and came at the officers, gripping and holding it high," yelling "hoot me now, kill me now." He said the man was shot when he was "2 or 3 feet" away from the officers.
But in the released video, Powell doesn’t really look like he was attacking the officers. Vox notes:
“Powell does not appear to be holding a knife high, and he looks to be walking normally — and to be further than 2 or 3 feet from the officers — when they open fire, killing him.”
In addition, many are questioning if the shooting was even necessary at that point.
I won't post it but the video of the St. Louis City police shooting & killing that young man is awful. The shoot first mentality is a mess.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) August 20, 2014
I mean if you watch that video and u don't think there were other ways to diffuse that situation u might suck at life.— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) August 20, 2014
@antoniofrench If that is what a justified police killing looks like - there is something seriously wrong with the way we train police.— Ryan Hurst (@captainhurst) August 20, 2014
This shit is getting out of hand. Another man shot in cold blood yesterday in St. Louis. Other precautions should've been taken. Smfh man— ? D'Vay ? (@LadyZeti) August 21, 2014