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There's been a lot of talk about Michael Brown, but very little of the shooting in St. Louis, just a few miles from Ferguson, of Kajieme Powell which occurred just a few days later.  A point that should be kept in mind as people complain about the lack of complaint in the death of Unarmed White Guy Dillon Taylor, even though there have been protests of Taylor's shooting.  

Protesters lined the sidewalk across the street from Salt Lake City police headquarters Monday afternoon to express their outrage at a spate of recent police shootings of unarmed people.

Among the demonstrators were friends of Dillon Taylor, the 20-year-old man who was shot dead by Salt Lake City police outside a 7-Eleven last Monday. Police were responding to a report of a man with a gun, but Taylor’s supporters say he was unarmed.

It should also be noted Powell had a knife and was armed, while Taylor wasn't armed, but he had a $25,000 Felony Bench Warrant for Record for Robbery and Obstructing Justice.
Most have accepted the idea that Powell, who was at the time shouting "Kill Me", was quite deliberate in making sure he presented a threat to the officers and was executing "Suicide by Cop" as he strode toward them.

But there was something else he did which I noticed but didn't fully comprehend until I received the following tweet.  He looked back and saw bystanders behind him who were within the line of fire, and he walked sideways to change the angle between himself and police before beginning his approach.

He knew.

It's actually a bit amazing to think he had the presence of mind, even being in clearly what was not a normal state-of-mind, to notice his surroundings, to realize that - particularly considering the previous Michael Brown shooting - that police would not hesitate to use deadly force [all in all his encounter took less than 30 seconds before he was dead] - and that Ferguson PD Officers wouldn't try to tase him, they wouldn't try to pepper spray him, they would do anything but shoot him down on the spot.

He knew that.

So before he did what would ultimately be his final action on this earth -  he moved sideways over a wall onto the grass - so that those directly behind him would no longer be in the line of fire anymore.

There's a lot more to think about in this situation, but I wonder, if Powell hadn't changed his angle - would they have refrained from firing?  Would they have tried to change angle?  Were they even aware that there were people behind him?  Even with the new angle, there was a building there, could some of the shots gone through the windows?

By skipping past the Taser, and skipping right past the Pepper Spray and going right for the Guns - then continuing to shoot even after the Powell hit the ground and was already dead - aren't the Police in this situation a far greater danger to public safety than Powell could have ever been?

We know from other cases such as the Time Square Shooting where Police decided to charge the man they shot - who was unarmed - for their own bullets hitting bystanders.

 An unarmed, emotionally disturbed man shot at by the police as he was lurching around traffic near Times Square in September has been charged with assault, on the theory that he was responsible for bullet wounds suffered by two bystanders, according to an indictment unsealed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday.

I bring this up because it reminds of a 2013 case in Times Square where a unarmed man acting erratically was charged with assault for Police Bullets that hit bystanders.

The man, Glenn Broadnax, 35, of Brooklyn, created a disturbance on Sept. 14, wading into traffic at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue and throwing himself into the path of oncoming cars.

A curious crowd grew. Police officers arrived and tried to corral Mr. Broadnax, a 250-pound man. When he reached into his pants pocket, two officers, who, the police said, thought he was pulling a gun, opened fire, missing Mr. Broadnax, but hitting two nearby women. Finally, a police sergeant knocked Mr. Broadnax down with a Taser.

Or this other 2012 case near the Empire State Building where the shooter, who wasn't unarmed and also for change of pace wasn't black either, was killed and nine bystanders wounded.
The encounter was breathtakingly brief: a surveillance video showed a gunman outside the Empire State Building on Friday pulling a pistol, pointing it at two police officers, their firing at him and his falling to the sidewalk.

The morning after a shooting at the Empire State Building left two people dead and nine passers-by injured, normality returned.

All the yelling and cries of pain occurred out of camera view, just north of where the gunman, Jeffrey T. Johnson, collapsed and died: nine bystanders were struck, cradling bloody arms or lying on the sidewalks and curbs.

The police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, confirmed on Saturday that all nine were wounded by police bullets, bullet fragments or shrapnel from ricochets. Mr. Kelly also confirmed that the shooter, Mr. Johnson, never fired another shot after killing a former co-worker, Steven Ercolino, moments earlier.

Isn't it ironic that Powell showed that he knew that was going to be the situation - just before the end - better than the Police did?

Why is it exactly that American Police can't handle the situation the way we see here with English Police with a person who tries to escape twice even after being hand-cuffed?

UK police take on a man with a Machette using Mace. Eventually they take him out with shields.

Or how Police in Vancouver take down a man with a Sword.

Or here how Police in China - yes, China - use a set of sticks to take down a man with a knife.

Why is it that U.S. Police first, second and sometimes third option is to shoot first, then keep shooting, then after the person hits the ground - keep shooting?

He knew it would go down like that. Why exactly did they have to make it so easy for him to get himself killed?


Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 2:48 PM PT: This Diary, posted prior to mine, makes the same point.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not Ferguson (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, VClib, Drewid
    the shooting in Ferguson of Kajieme Powell
    Wrong place.  Mr. Powell was gunned down in the city of St. Louis by St. Louis city police officers, not Ferguson P.D. nor St. Louis County P.D. who were responsible for the over reaction in their "riot" control.
  •  * (10+ / 0-)
    By skipping past the Taser, and skipping right past the Pepper Spray and going right for the Guns
    This needs to end.

    Alison Lundergan Grimes for Senate!

    by noweasels on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 04:56:19 PM PDT

  •  Vyan, this is really good! (8+ / 0-)
    Why is it that U.S. Police first, second and sometimes third option is to shoot first, then keep shooting, then after the person hits the ground - keep shooting?
    Sadly, I don't know.

    "The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out." Thomas Babington Macaulay

    by Deja on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 04:57:02 PM PDT

  •  This is hard to read but necessay if we are ever (5+ / 0-)

    to reform our police and prison system.

  •  Between the few things that I've seen about the (3+ / 0-)

    prior record of Dillon Taylor, and the comments from his own witness, I haven't felt comfortable lumping his case with that of anyone else. One thing that I will give credit to is that the investigations overseen by Sim Gill, the Salt Lake County Attorney who will review this one, while they have been slow, they have also been thorough and professional. And the problem shootings that we do have in Utah are typically not from the SLCPD.

    Ferguson, or so many other places, this is not.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 05:02:26 PM PDT

  •  The police don't care where their bullets fly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As long as they can kill a negro. It must be some kind of initiation into the policeKKK.

    They might get 2 for 1.

    FUCK the police.

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 05:44:59 PM PDT

  •  Powell's death has not got enough attention. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The DOJ should be investigating this shooting along with Brown's shooting.

  •  British police shot weapons 3X in all of 2013, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    no fatalities. Gotta love the Brits. In the "Best Police Takedown Ever" video, I swear one of the cops told another cop to "get off" the suspect.  What are the chances of that being said in the USA?

    The videos in this diary should be included in training material for American cops.

  •  I TOo Have Been Mystified Why Powell's SHooting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    has not gotten more attention. I call it an assassination.

    We have the whole video, unlike with Brown. I realize it's a different jurisdiction but the public policy issue is the same.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 06:53:42 PM PDT

  •  You can put a lot of officers on the scene... (0+ / 0-) a big city like London. In an American suburb, not so much. Those non-lethal techniques probably require a lot of expensive time devoted to training, too.

    American police departments are woefully understaffed and underfunded. DHS hands out millions for SWAT gear and "anti-terror" training.  But when the chief asks the city council to fund one extra patrol officer, the local TeaPuppet anti-tax brigade turns out in force to scream about public pensions.

    An injured cop is not available for duty and becomes a financial liability to his employer, so when it comes to training, the departments lean heavily toward self-protection.

    I believe that there is a racial element to these killings. But I can't help but wonder...what would have happened If two patrol cars had arrived to deal with Powell instead of just one? Would the presence of four officers changed the equation enough to give one of them the confidence to try the pepper spray first?

    And why was Darren Wilson patrolling alone when he encountered Michael Brown? Would the presence of a partner in the car have changed the emotional equation enough to keep him from snapping?

    No way to be sure, but I like to think "yes" and "yes".

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 07:13:31 PM PDT

  •  Well, it's a damned good question. (0+ / 0-)

    Part is that these other countries do not have the NRA and a kajillion guns on the streets.

    Clearly a factor in paranoid policing.

    Why not a taser or stun grenade? A bolo? One cop would still be holding a gun.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 04:21:07 AM PDT

  •  When I saw that video (0+ / 0-)

    of Mr. Powell getting killed, I too noticed him looking back, and moving to the side. This is definitely a case of "suicide by cop", it's also a case of the "perp"/"victim" being more aware of bystanders than the cops. Who never moved beyond exiting their car and drawing their guns.

    This whole incident was planned start to finish by Powell. He robbed the store, knowing the cops would be called. He set the sodas on the curb in the street, in a move that basically said "I have no interest in these beyond them getting the cops here." When the cops arrived he shouted "shoot me!" several times before checking behind himself. He then moved onto the retaining wall to his left, removing the bystanders from the potential line of fire. He then continued to shout and then finally rushed at the cops.

    I have no idea what he thought his actions would accomplish, beyond getting himself killed. But to me, it's obvious he had some thought that this would set off a chain of events that led to...?

    Oh and this is how Japanese cops deal with (in this case) a knife wielding loon; for the record, it's also how they deal with katana wielding loons. Which occasionally costs an officer a thumb.

    Well, ok they do use tasers too. But they gotta put all that kendo practice to good use, right? ;)

    The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair. Douglas Adams

    by coyote66 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 06:18:47 AM PDT

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