A 23-year-old man was shot and killed by St. Louis police in North St. Louis Aug. 19 after he reportedly waved a knife at police and asked them to shoot him.
The man, later identified as Kajieme Powell, was shot and killed after he allegedly took items from a convenience store and acted erratically, according to USA Today. The store is located approximately four miles from the site of the fatal shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Mo., another police-involved incident which sparked ongoing protests in the area.
A witness to the incident involving Powell recorded the scene from start to finish, and released a video which quickly went viral.
In the video, Powell exits a convenience store with two cans of energy drinks. The store owner is seen following close behind and demanding Powell return the items, claiming that he stole them. Powell ignores him, sets the two drinks on the sidewalk, and begins pacing back and forth.
While Powell is pacing, he has his right hand in the pocket of his jacket while his left hand swings by his side. “I’m on Instagram, I’m on Facebook,” Powell says after a few moments. “You know who I am? I’m tired of this [expletive].”
Seconds later, a police truck arrives and Powell backs up abruptly with his hand still in his pockets. Two police officers exit with their guns drawn, and one yells, “Get your hand of out of your pocket.” Powell makes no move to do so, and the officer says it again.
Powell then takes his hand out of his pocket, but because of the camera angle, his back is tuned towards the camera and his hands are not visible. Powell then walks towards both officers screaming, “Shoot me. Shoot me. Shoot me. Shoot me now.” The officers repeatedly tell Powell, “Drop the knife. Drop the knife.”
When Powell approaches within a foot of the officers, approximately nine gunshots ring out. Powell drops to the ground after about five shots, but four more are fired by the offices while he is on the ground. Powell can be seen still moving on the ground for about five seconds before his body goes completely limp.
One of the cops lifts Powell’s arms up and handcuffs him, while his partner continues to aim his gun at Powell. As neighbors and bystanders watch and record the scene, a dozen more officers arrive and instruct them to back away before putting up yellow tape. In the video, voices in the background express disbelief that another young African-American male was shot and killed by the police.
Asked if his officers made the right decision, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Sam Dotson told NBC St. Louis affiliate KDSK that “officers have the right to go home at night and that every officer has the right to defend themselves and the community.”
See video below: