Deng Manyoun, a 35-year-old immigrant who did not speak or understand English, was shot to death after he swung a flagpole near a Louisville cop.
While nobody is disputing the fact that the man tried to attack Officer Nathan Blanford, community activists are questioning why the cop turned first to his gun, instead of using non-lethal force.
Organizer Chanelle Helm said she and others want to know why Blanford "did not use other weapons on his belt," such as "a Taser, mace or his baton."
"The officer went first to kill a man with his gun," she said. "He did not subdue him."
“He was drunk,” Kenneth Williams, a witness, told ABC affiliate WHAS. “The officer could have maced him. He could have used his stun gun. He didn’t have to shoot that man. He wasn’t no threat.”
However, police Chief Steve Conrad released the video of the incident and said Blanford acted in self-defense when he shot Manyoun, who, according to the chief, had a "dangerous instrument."
The surveillance footage shows Manyoun stumbling across the street as Blanford pulls up in his vehicle.
After the cop gets out of the car, he starts talking to Manyoun. Suddenly, latter appears to get agitated and disappears from the frame. Manyoun then re-emerges with a flagpole and wields it toward Blanford, striking the squad car.
Blanford immediately draws his revolver and fires his weapon as Manyoun falls down to the sidewalk.
"I think the officer felt like he was in danger of being killed or suffering serious physical injury, based on this which would allow him under the law and under our policy to go to that option," Conrad said, adding he was told that Manyoun grabbed a woman’s purse, and “started to punch her.”
"I have not reached any conclusions about whether or not this use of force was justified," Conrad further stated. "I can look at the video and based on my 35 years as a police officer (and) form some opinions, but this investigation has got to be completed."